Teething is a normal part of growing up for all babies. It’s when their first tiny teeth start coming in. But it can be a tricky time for both babies and their parents. Parents often wait for this important moment, but teething brings some challenges. Along with new teeth, babies might get other issues like a fever or discomfort. But here’s the question: can teething cause a runny nose in babies?
Teething can cause many changes, and it’s common to see extra drool, chewing, and fussiness during this time. But having a runny nose isn’t directly because of teething. It might happen because teething can make the baby’s immune system busy, leading to a weaker response in the nose area. The extra drool from teething can also sometimes irritate the skin around the nose.
So, while teething and a runny nose might happen together, one doesn’t exactly cause the other.
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Understanding Teething Process in Babies
Teething begins when your baby’s first tooth starts coming through their gums, typically around six months. You might expect all the teeth to arrive quickly once this begins, but that’s not how it works. The first tooth might appear at around six months, but the rest of the 20 teeth will take about 30 months to come in.
Can Teething Cause a Runny Nose in Babies?
A baby’s first tooth often shows up around six months, and they usually have a full set of 20 teeth by the time they’re about 30 months old.
When a new tooth is on the way, it typically takes about eight days. This process, called “tooth eruption,” begins four days before the tooth pokes through the gum and continues for three days. Some parents notice things like a runny nose or a slight fever before a new tooth appears, but experts suggest these symptoms aren’t directly caused by teething.
According to experts, teething doesn’t lead to a runny nose, fever, diarrhea, or diaper rash. However, some experts think there might be an indirect connection. Teething can bring stress to the baby, which could make them more vulnerable to infections, resulting in symptoms like a runny nose.
Between 6 and 30 months of age, the baby’s immune system changes as teeth come in. The protection they had at birth and through breastfeeding started to decrease. Babies also start exploring the world more and can catch common childhood illnesses. During teething, babies often chew on things, exposing them to germs.
First Signs of Teething
Babies are unique when getting their first teeth. Some may have them as early as four months, while others might not see any until after their first birthday. Teething can start anytime, from 3 months to around three years old. The initial signs usually involve lots of drooling and a baby rubbing anything they can on their gums.
When a baby is teething, they might become cranky, cry more, have trouble sleeping, and be a bit fussier than usual. In some cases, their temperature may rise a little, but it’s usually under 101 degrees Fahrenheit. If your child’s body temperature surpasses 101 degrees, or if they experience diarrhea or a runny nose, it is probable that a virus is the cause rather than teething.
Causes of Runny Nose in Babies
The nose makes a slimy substance called mucus. This keeps the nose wet and traps germs to stop them from going deeper into the body. Usually, the body pushes mucus to the throat, and we swallow it without even noticing.
But sometimes, babies experience a runny nose. That’s when too much mucus flows through the nose instead of down the throat. Mucus can be thick or thin and clear or cloudy. A runny nose usually goes away on its own.
In kids, some common reasons for a runny nose include:
- Cold Weather: When it’s cold, the body makes more mucus, which can lead to a runny nose.
- Crying: Tears can end up in the nose and make it run.
- Irritants: Things like smoke and pollution can make the nose run.
- Colds and Flu: Viral infections can fill the nose with mucus, causing a runny nose.
- Obstruction: Sometimes, something foreign gets stuck in the nose, and this can lead to a runny nose.
- Sinus Infection: Infections can fill the sinuses with bad mucus, which can lead to a runny nose. However, this is rare in babies because their sinuses aren’t fully grown yet.
- Adenoid Infection: An infection in the back of the nose (adenoids) can cause a runny nose in children.
Less common reasons include:
- Choanal Atresia: This is when something blocks the back of a baby’s nose. If both sides are blocked, doctors usually find it right after birth, but it might not be noticed for a while if it’s just one side.
- Pyriform Aperture Stenosis: When the bony nose opening is too narrow.
- Deviated Nasal Septum: When the wall inside the nose leans to one side, causing an obstruction. This can be from birth or an injury.
- Nasal Polyps: Grape-like growths inside the nose that can make it run.
- Nasal Cysts or Tumors: Rare growths inside the nose that can cause obstructions, sometimes even cancerous, and usually, they develop on one side.
How Can You Soothe a Baby While Teething?
Teething is a natural but quite painful process for babies. Instead of getting frustrated, consider these helpful tips that can help soothe your baby while teething.
When you notice your baby clenching their gums, it’s a sign that a new tooth is on the way. A gentle gum massage can relieve their discomfort. Just make sure your hands are clean before touching their gums. If your baby is 12 months or older, use a cold, wet cloth to soothe the area.
Babies tend to put everything in their mouths during teething, which can be risky. To keep them safe, giving them a teething ring is a good idea. These rings come in bright, attractive colors that capture your baby’s attention. The best part is that you can wash and sterilize them, reducing the risk of infection, and they can be reused.
When You Should See a Dentist
If your baby is troubled and has a high fever, it’s important to have a dentist check them. These signs can sometimes mean they have an ear infection or another illness.
If your baby’s runny nose doesn’t get better and sticks around for more than ten days, seeing a doctor is a good idea. This could be a sign of a separate health issue like the ones mentioned above.
Many folks connect a runny nose and other signs to teething, but there’s no proof that teething directly causes a runny nose, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or lots of crying. These symptoms are probably caused by contact with common childhood illnesses as babies explore the world.
If your baby is very upset, has a fever, or has serious or long-lasting symptoms, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor. Always contact a medical expert when you’re worried about an infant’s symptoms.
Does my baby have a fever?
A tiny rise in your baby’s temperature during teething is normal, but it’s very, very small. Usually, the slight temperature increase from teething is only about 0.2ºF (0.1ºC). It’s so tiny that most people wouldn’t even notice it. The highest temperature linked to teething is around 98.24ºF (36.8ºC) when using an ear thermometer, and that’s still within the normal temperature range.
So, what does this mean? If your baby’s temperature, measured rectally (which is the most accurate way for babies), goes over 100.4ºF (38ºC), you can be satisfied that it’s not because of teething.
Can teething cause cold-like symptoms in babies?
While teething doesn’t cause fever, diarrhea, or colds, it might cause anxiety in a newborn. If your infant becomes ill while teething, it’s critical to assess the signs of their sickness independently from teething. See your child’s physician for advice if your infant is ill.
Why does my baby have a clear runny nose?
Sneezing and a runny or stuffy nose with thin, clear mucous are common cold symptoms. Sneezing, an itchy nose, watery, red, or swollen eyes, and a clear, runny, stuffy nose can all be symptoms of environmental allergies.