Repeat after me…teething does not cause a fever.
Then tell everyone you know about it; and that it is quite possibly one of the most harmful old wives’ tales around that really has to stop.
Where has this myth come from?
Around the same time as teething:
- many mums stop/reduce breastfeeding (so immunity is not being passed on from mum and baby has to start fighting infections by themselves)
- babies are older and able to go to more playgroups and mingle with other (super germy) babies/toddlers
So of course children of teething age might have more infections/tummy upsets and so forth.
This story plays out frequently:
“She’s been screaming all day and night, not sleeping well, she is 4 months old, people keep telling me she is teething but she’s so upset – I’m really worried.”
Cue an examination.
“You’re right mum/dad- she has a urine infection/an ear infection/a chest infection/tonsillitis/a viral upper respiratory tract infection…”
- A miserable baby with a fever (greater than 38 C) – needs to go see the GP.
- A well baby who is slightly drooling and rubbing their gums but is otherwise generally happy enough – is (likely) teething.
What’s the research?
There is actual research out there where paediatricians have taken a load of babies and checked their temperatures daily, had a dentist look at their teeth daily and got parents to rate their child’s symptoms.
Fever above 38 degrees C was not one of the symptoms of teething. In fact, there are no major symptoms of teething at all. No diarrhoea, no increased predisposition to infections…nothing.
Reference: click here.
Say it with me, loud and proud (and tell aunty and grandma and your neighbours):
TEETHING DOES NOT CAUSE A FEVER!
Read my teething tips post for more advice on teething remedies, what works and what doesn’t.
Dr Claudia x