Is Infant Teething a Cause of Vomiting?

During the arduous teething process, your baby may exhibit a number of abnormal signs or symptoms, such as vomiting. Possible explanations for your child's vomiting during teething may include stress, the overproduction of saliva or a viral infection. However, vomiting is not a typical sign of a healthy teething process. Speak with your baby's pediatrician if your baby has been vomiting or shows other signs that worry you.

Baby chewing on teething toy (Image: naumoid/iStock/Getty Images)

Expert Insight

Experts share differing views on the topic of vomiting caused by teething. In "The Portable Pediatrician: Everything You Need to Know about Your Child's Health," author William Sears, M.D. explains that a normal balance occurs between saliva production and saliva swallowing. Saliva contains enzymes that assist in food digestion. During the teething process, your baby produces extra saliva; those extra enzymes may disturb your baby's stomach, causing sickness or vomiting.

However, Penelope Leach, Ph.D., states that teething cannot cause fever, diarrhea, vomiting or convulsions; rather, these symptoms may indicate that your child is simply ill. Leach advises that parents consult a doctor if their child is ill, even if they suspect symptoms to be teething-related.

Teething Study

A study published in the "Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics" asked parents of 125 healthy infants to record the presence or absence of 18 different symptoms and all tooth eruptions twice per day from the time the children were four months old to the time they turned one. While symptoms like biting, drooling, gum-rubbing, sucking, decreased appetite and wakefulness were often occurred, symptoms like congestion, stool looseness, cough and vomiting were not significantly associated or reported with teething.

Common Teething Symptoms

Some babies go through the teething process without a hitch. However, in most cases, babies may exhibit signs of discomfort or behave differently than they usually do. Typical healthy signs that your baby is teething include: drooling, gum sensitivity, fussiness, biting behavior, refusing food and interrupted sleep patterns. If your child shows signs of fever, diarrhea or vomiting, these signs most likely indicate a viral infection or other illness, not teething.

Contacting Your Child's Doctor

Teething can usually be managed at home. Contact your child's pediatrician if he has problems that worry you, regardless of what you think may be the cause. Flu-like symptoms sometimes indicate a more severe problem; seek immediate medical attention for your child if he vomits excessively.

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