Can Teething Cause Diarrhea?

Article at a Glance:

  • Many parents associate diarrhea with teething
  • Diarrhea, fever, and vomiting are among the common symptoms not associated to teething
  • Monitor your child to be sure that there isn’t an underlying issue

Teething pain and fussiness are already bad enough as it is. If your baby is also suffering from diarrhea, they are likely downright miserable. Are the two connected – can teething cause diarrhea?

Can Diarrhea Be A Direct Symptom Of Teething?

While many parents believe that diarrhea is a symptom of teething, it is not.

If your infant has diarrhea while teething,  there could be a good explanation for this. When your baby is teething, they’re probably  looking for anything – and everything – to chew on to comfort their sore gums. Unfortunately, this means picking up and mouthing objects not intended for teething and ingesting bacteria. This onslaught of germs can cause diarrhea.

There are many other illnesses that parents tend to associate with teething including ear infections, fever during teething, urinary tract Infections, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal conditions. The truth is, none of these are typical teething symptoms and could be a sign of a more severe illness that parents overlook.

Teething, Teethers, and Diarrhea?

It is understandable that baby teething can be a stressful experience. With a fussy and uncomfortable child, parents may try to do anything they can to relieve their child’s discomfort. This can result in purchasing any kind of teething product on the market, without looking into the types of materials used to create these teething products.

As information advances and becomes available to the general public, most medical professionals advise against teething products that are hollow or filled with liquid.

A famous case in the baby teething world is of the “Sophie the giraffe” teething toy. A parent and pediatrician had noticed that her child was getting sick during their tooth days (teething period). Aware that his symptoms were not related to teething, she suspected the issues were stemming from the toy. When she cut the toy open, she found black mold aligning the inside of the teething toy. Saliva and bacteria entered through small openings in the toy and began to accumulate and grow inside of the toy.

This is something that can be overlooked if you are not closely paying attention to your child and their teething symptoms. With a weak immune system, babies are susceptible to issues like fevers, diarrhea, and vomiting that stem from ingesting bacteria.

Know Your Teething Products

Before 1998, companies that produced liquid filled teething products were using a chemical called, disononyl phthalate, which is used as a softening agent. This chemical is known to be a carcinogen and was commonly used in baby rattles and teething toys.

Due to the slow leaching of chemicals from these products, babies were ingesting this chemical unknowingly. Although there have not been any cases related to cancer in babies, manufacturers have reduced the usage of this chemical in products.

Most products today use water to fill their products, however products that are hollow or liquid filled are still advised against. The likelihood of your child ingesting liquids that leach from these products can also be the culprit of teething diarrhea.

How To Care For Babies With Diarrhea During Teething

The best thing you can do is be vigilant about what your baby puts in their mouth at all times. Although teething toys are meant for relief from infant teething symptoms, there is a chance that some toys can expose babies to bacteria causing illness, including diarrhea.  

A good practice to keep in mind is hygiene. Always make sure to disinfect your child’s teething toys with hot water and mild soap. Just by cleaning your child’s teething toys, this practice will reduce the risk of your child’s exposure to bacteria and non-teething symptoms like diarrhea.

Most parents overlook diarrhea, vomiting, and fever and attribute these with teething. If these are symptoms your child continues to experience, make sure to set up an appointment with a pediatric doctor to make sure there are no underlying issues present.

Additional measures you can take to manage diarrhea include:

  • Make sure they’re getting plenty of fluids. Regardless of the cause, babies with diarrhea are at risk for dehydration.
  • Adjust their diet – choose water and breastfeeding over juice and avoid foods that encourage bowel movements like prunes and pears. Rice cereal and bananas can help with more solid and regular bowel movements.
  • Regularly sanitize toys and offer plenty of clean, safe teething toys during active teething periods. Kute Keiki offers a variety of teething toys, silicone teething necklaces, and Baltic Amber teething necklaces that are hypoallergenic and resistant to bacteria, plus are super easy to clean in the dishwasher or with soap and water

If symptoms do not get better within 3 days, see your doctor.

So Is Teething Causing Diarrhea In My Baby?

There are many misconceptions of symptoms associated with teething, as the case is with teething and diarrhea, but most often babies show signs of irritability, touching their face/ears, and drooling. These symptoms can naturally lead to other behaviors such as disruptive sleep, a disinterest in solid food, teething rash, and the urge to bite and chew to get the soothing relief that counter pressure on the gums provides.

If your teething infant does have diarrhea, fever, or vomiting, it could be a more serious illness. Monitor them closely and treat the symptoms separately – do not assume these symptoms are related to teething.