Teething is not pleasant for anyone. After all, sharp little teeth pushing through tender gums are likely to cause at least a little discomfort, and one common symptom of teething is a bit of fussy behavior. Many new parents wonder whether teething can also cause other symptoms, like a runny nose. Teething does cause other symptoms, but most experts believe that runny noses in particular are not caused by teething, says BabyCenter.com.
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Symptoms of Teething
Babies who are teething usually exhibit increased saliva and drooling, which can cause a red rash to develop around the mouth area. This may sometimes resemble clear nasal mucus. Other common symptoms caused by teething include a mild fever, an increased desire to chew on things and mild pain, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Sometimes parents claim that their babies develop diarrhea, high fevers and ear pain due to teething. According to the AAP, these things are not caused by teething. They may be caused by introduction to solid foods, a cold, an ear infection, a sinus infection or allergies. For example, when a baby first starts eating solid foods, she might develop diarrhea until her body adjusts to the new foods. And many babies catch their first colds when they start teething because they start chewing on toys that other babies have chewed on, thus spreading the germs.
Easing the Symptoms
Resist the urge to rub oral teething gel over your baby's sore gums. Although these gels are often sold over the counter, that doesn't necessarily mean they are safe for your little one. In fact, the AAP recommends that you don't use such gels, as babies can swallow too much of them, which numbs the back of the throat and may prevent them from feeding properly. Instead, chill a teething ring in the refrigerator -- not the freezer, because it can become too hard -- or give the baby a teething biscuit. Putting gentle pressure on the gums with your finger sometimes helps also.
A Note of Caution
If your baby has a runny nose or other symptoms of an illness, it's important to see a pediatrician, rather than assuming the symptoms are caused by teething. Parents who attribute such symptoms to teething may put off seeing a doctor, which could put the baby in danger of dehydration or of worsening the situation. For example, if your baby is pulling on her ear, don't assume it's because her teeth hurt. If she has an ear infection, it's important to get help right away before it gets worse and her eardrums are damaged.