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Teething Rash: Symptoms And Treatment

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Teething rash, sometimes called a drool rash, is the result of excessive drool irritating a baby's face while teeth are coming in. When your baby has any kind of rash on their body, it's always wise to question whether it's from teething or another cause. Keep reading for some tips on how to prevent and treat a drool rash, and how to distinguish it from other types of baby rashes.

A Rash from Teething or Something Else?

The dribbles of drool that teething causes can result in skin irritation that leads to a rash. Teething rashes can develop on the cheeks, chin, neck and chest, and look like chapped skin or small red bumps. Teething should not cause a rash on the baby's arms, legs or back, however, so any full-body irritations should be looked at by a paediatrician.

The NHS reports that infants can have rashes as young as a few days old. Likewise, teething can begin as early as two months old, so it's helpful to be aware of these other types of rashes that can occur on or near your child's face or mouth:

  • Eczema can occur anywhere on your baby's body, and looks dry, cracked and red.
  • Erythema toxicum  presents itself as blotchy red skin. It only appears in newborns, and affects at least half of infants in the first few days or weeks after birth.
  • Hand, foot and mouth disease is a virus marked by a blistery rash around the mouth, hands and feet (hence the name). It can also be present with mouth sores or a mild fever, and usually lasts about a week, says the NHS.
  • Hives are typically a result of a food allergy, and show up as bright red, itchy bumps that can occur anywhere on the body. Ask your paediatrician about using antihistamines if your baby gets hives after eating.

Unlike these four conditions, a rash from teething will occur only on your baby's face or neck area, and typically goes hand-in-hand with other teething symptoms. It's always best to call your paediatrician no matter what the appearance of red spots, to confirm the cause and treatment. Your paediatrician may prescribe ointments or antibiotics depending on the cause of the rash.

Treating Teething Rash

To limit the drool that causes teething rash in the first place, start by offering a chilled teething ring. (Avoid a completely frozen teething toy, as this can harm your baby's gums.) You can massage the irritated area with a clean finger or gauze to decrease inflammation, and keep a burp cloth or clean rag on hand to wipe the drool off your baby's face.

Your baby's skin is tender and sensitive, so it's normal to be concerned about using a topical treatment. The NCT suggests dabbing petroleum jelly around the mouth to protect it and prevent a rash. Your paediatrician might also recommend an unscented lotion or a natural moisturiser like shea butter.

Before you reach for an over-the-counter teething gel as a solution, take note: according to NICE, the FDA advises caregivers that teething gels containing benzocaine can be toxic to infants. Homoeopathic teething gels and tablets may also be dangerous, according to Public Health. The ingredients in homoeopathic drugs are not regulated for safety or efficacy, and both tablets and gels have been found to be toxic to young children. Ask your paediatrician about alternative pain relief like infant doses of paracetamol.

What to Ask Your Paediatrician

If your child seems unwell and has a rash and a fever, call your GP, says the NHS. Keep track of your child's food intake so that you can keep notes about any possible food allergy that may cause a rash.

Teething and drool are a normal part of raising a baby. Drool rash can be uncomfortable, but before you know it the red spots will have cleared up and your little one will have a beautiful new smile!


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.