Teething is one of the most critical milestones in a baby’s life. It is a natural process which prepares the baby to switch to a solid diet.

Though teething is an exciting stage that every child goes through at some point, it can be an uncomfortable experience for the baby.

Symptoms of teething may differ from one infant to another. The most common symptoms may include irritability and loss of appetite.

The incidence of vomiting, fever, and diarrhea have been reported during teething in a baby. Although these symptoms might be related to teething, there is no research available to prove this link.

Clinically, teething may cause localized soreness or pain. However, it doesn’t cause systemic symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.

A pediatrician may help to detect the cause of vomiting that occurs during teething and treat it accordingly.

In this article, we will look upon the various symptoms of teething and how you can manage it.

What is teething?

Teething is a natural process that occurs in an infant during the eruption of primary teeth. (1)

It generally occurs in babies around the age of 6-12 months. The lower front incisors are usually the first set of teeth to erupt in the baby.

This process of eruption continues until the age of three years. At this time, the baby has a set of 20 primary teeth.

As teething occurs for an extended period, the baby may experience several symptoms attributed to teething.

What are the symptoms of teething?

There are many symptoms of teething that an infant may experience at some point. It is necessary to understand which symptoms are normal when it comes to teething. (2)

Some of the typical symptoms may include –

  • An urge to chew on hard objects
  • Irritability and crying
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Excessive drooling
  • Fuzzy behavior
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen, red and tender gums
  • Fever – not above 101o F

These symptoms may peak at the initial stages of the eruption, which tends to occur between the age of 6-16 months. Over time, the baby may experience fewer symptoms and eventually get rid of them, once all the teeth erupt.

Now that you’ve understood the typical symptoms of teething take note of the following symptoms that are not caused by teething –

  • Cough or congestion
  • High fever – more than 101o F
  • Diarrhea and increased number of stools
  • Rash on the body
  • Refusal of liquids
  • Vomiting

Can teething cause vomit?

Vomiting might occur during teething. However, teething is not the reason for vomiting in a child. Many parents may attribute vomiting as a symptom of teething, but they are not related to one another. (3)

So, what causes vomiting during teething?

Experts say that infants are exposed to many childhood illnesses during teething. The passive immunity that is passed down to the child from the mother also starts to decrease during teething.

As a result, the baby experiences vomiting due to bacterial or viral infections. (4)

Some of the illnesses that may cause vomiting in an infant are –

  • Common cold
  • Ear infection
  • Stomach infection
  • Urine infection
  • Food allergy

Vomiting is usually not a topic of concern and may subside on its own. However, it is essential to always keep a check on the unusual symptoms that may occur during teething.

How can you manage the symptoms of teething?

If a child is experiencing vomiting, you can aid recovery by –

  • Keeping the child hydrated
  • Allow the child to rest for a while
  • Resume solid diet after 12-24 hours since vomiting

Typical symptoms of teething can be managed as follows –

  • Excessive drooling can be wiped off with a clean cloth. Place the cloth gently over the chin and the areas around the mouth to wipe. If drooling causes skin irritation around the mouth, you can apply a fragrance-free cold cream to soothe the area. (5)
  • Maintaining good oral hygiene during teething is essential. Gently clean the gums and the oral tissues with a moistened piece of gauze. Massage the gums to alleviate any pain and tenderness.
  • Cold compresses or chilled spoon and teething rings provide comfort and a soothing effect to the gums of the baby. Never give a frozen teething ring to your child as it may cause harm to the gums.
  • You can substitute cool teething rings with cold cucumber and carrots to maintain the diet of the baby and provide comfort to the gums. Monitor the baby while they chew on the food. Small pieces of food can be a choking hazard.

When should you see a doctor?

A baby should mostly be taken to regular medical visits. However, you can specifically consult a pediatrician if you notice the following symptoms –

  • Persistent rash
  • Severe irritability
  • High fever
  • Refusal of liquids
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth and dehydration
  • Swollen stomach
  • Persistent vomiting

A pediatrician may run a few tests to rule out the cause of such symptoms and treat the baby appropriately.

Take away message

It can be challenging to differentiate the reasons for your baby’s discomfort. However, a little bit of knowledge about teething can help you to understand some of the common symptoms.

Teething typically begins from an early age of 6 months and may continue until all the primary teeth have erupted in the baby’s mouth.

During this period, your child may experience a variety of symptoms that are not necessarily related to teething.

Vomiting is one of those symptoms. Vomiting can occur during teething but is primarily caused by bacterial or viral infections.

Although vomiting usually subsides on its own, in some cases it may be persistent. A pediatrician can detect the cause of persistent vomiting and treat it effectively.

A pediatrician can further advise you on how to alleviate the typical symptoms of teething in your child.

Vomiting might occur during teething. However, teething is not the reason for vomiting as they are not related to one another.