Q&A: Does Teething Cause a Fever?

Posted in Teething FAQs.

Question & Answer

Teething is a rite of passage that every parent gets to experience. And with a mouth full of toothy pegs waiting to cut through, we certainly get a lot of practice with it.

There’s one particular topic that everyone has an opinion on, and it’s whether teething causes a fever.

My 16 month old has had a fever on and off for the past few days. She is definitely teething her molars, however, I keep hearing that fevers are just a myth when it comes to teething.
– Jen P. Autumn 2020 Baby Group – Mum’s Grapevine

Does teething cause a fever?

Well, not really – but it can elevate your child’s temperature – slightly. Anything over 38 degrees Celsius and you’re probably looking at some form of illness or infection.

There are some studies floating around that suggest the inflammation and irritation in the gums can cause a low-grade fever. This should only last a couple of days though and be accompanied by all the other usual teething symptoms. Think excess drooling, chewing and general irritability.

So why do so many people swear their child gets a fever while teething?

Young babies have no way to tell you what’s going on with their bodies. Their developing immune systems are also incredibly prone to illness.

So yes, they can have a fever AND be teething. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the teething is the sole cause of the fever. If they have a high temperature and are generally unhappy, there’s a strong chance they’ve also picked up a little bug.

It’s also worthwhile mentioning that other common illnesses like tonsillitis and Hand Foot and Mouth disease can also cause really similar symptoms to teething.

What should I do if my baby seems to be teething, but also has a temperature?

Your best course of action is always to err on the side of caution.

If possible, keep your little one at home and manage any symptoms. If they’re not getting better after a couple of days, or their fever is rising, then consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Luckily, much like teething, most childhood illnesses usually resolve themselves fairly quickly. So, you can probably rest assured that bub’s pesky temperature won’t last long. But as always, if in doubt it’s always worth checking in with a professional.

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