DrMummyTips · Health tips

A dangerous old wives’ tale.

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.

In conclusion…

Say it with me, loud and proud (and tell aunty and grandma and your neighbours):



Read my teething tips post for more advice on teething remedies, what works and what doesn’t.

Dr Claudia x


Please note: The materials in this website are in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor. The web site does not have answers to all problems. Answers to specific problems may not apply to everyone. If you notice medical symptoms or feel ill, you should consult your doctor. Dr Claudia x
Petite Pudding

12 thoughts on “A dangerous old wives’ tale.

  1. Having gone through months of teething hell with NC (my second) I can back this up. He’s grouchy, agitated and flushed but not feverish. I haven’t actually heard the old wives’ tale that it DOES cause fever but you’re right to dispel it if it’s out there! #eatsleepblogrt

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow – I’m ashamed to admit this has been an eye-opener. I believe all of those “teething symptoms” when T was tiny. I would have still taken him to a doc if his temp spiked that high but still I certainly listened to that particular old wives tale. Thanks for sharing this important knowledge! #EatSleepBlogRT

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Everyone had always told me that teething caused a fever – the Popple DID seem to get a bit feverish when she was getting a tooth it, but as you said, it’s probably just a coincidence. Lesson learned! #EatSleepBlogRT

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thats a good reminder to many of us, I remember being told this when mine were little and amongst my scatty mummy thoughts it was easy to go with. Thanks for this post:)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can definitely see how people could ignore a serious problem by thinking this. I know my boy had a temperature raise while teething g but never an actual fever. By US standards 100.4 F , he tended to get in the 99s. Thanks for another one of your awesome tips. #EatsleepblogRT

    Liked by 1 person

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