Teething Fever

New parents often wonder whether babies really get fevers when teething. The short answer is this: teething does not cause a true fever but may occasionally lead to a slightly elevated temperature, sometimes called a low-grade fever. Read on to learn more about teething and fevers, how they do and don’t relate, and what temperature should prompt you to call your child’s healthcare provider.

Do Babies Get Fevers When Teething?

It’s natural to wonder whether and how teething and fevers relate. Though teething does not cause a true fever, babies can and do develop fevers because of illness and infections. This is important to know because if your baby has a fever while teething, it’s due to something else that might require medical attention. Almost any viral or infectious illness can lead to fever, from colds and flu to ear infections, urinary tract infections, and meningitis. Whether fever comes with a mild infection or a serious illness, it’s useful to know that teething isn’t the culprit and to contact your child’s healthcare provider when your baby has a fever.

Is My Baby Sick or Teething?

So, if teething does not cause a fever, why do babies get fevers while teething? Teething usually begins around 4 to 7 months, which is often when a baby develops their first cold or ear infection and spikes a fever. The immunity babies get from their mothers at birth goes away at around 6 months, and so 6 to 12 months is a likely age for infections and illnesses to occur—just as teething is going on! If your baby develops a fever while teething, it’s most likely due to an illness, and not from growing that first set of choppers. However, teething does take place at the same time as another exciting development milestone, learning to reach. Your curious baby can come into contact with many more people and objects, and wants to chew on everything they can grab, which increases the risk of developing a cold or another viral illness. Keep in mind that baby teeth eruption lasts into the toddler years, as most children won’t have a complete set of baby teeth until they are around 3 years old. So, it’s good remember that while older babies and toddlers may develop fevers, those fevers won’t be from teething either.

Can Babies Get a Low-Grade Fever When Teething?

On occasion (but very rarely), teething may cause a slightly elevated temperature—a low-grade fever—as a symptom. However, teething wouldn’t lead to a temperature higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit for babies of any age. If your baby develops a slightly elevated temperature (a low-grade fever) while teething, it’s typically nothing to worry about. If your baby gets a high fever, such as 103 degrees Fahrenheit, this would not be caused by teething. High fevers indicate a serious infection, so it’s best to contact your child’s healthcare provider right away. If you need an easy way to remember how high a fever can get due to teething, just think of the number 100. Any temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit is most likely caused by something other than teething.

Teething Remedies for Babies

Although your baby may not have a true fever due to teething, they may still develop an elevated temperature and some other frustrating symptoms associated with growing those pearly whites. Some symptoms of teething include:

  • tender, swollen gums

  • excessive drooling

  • desire to chew on something hard

  • low-grade fever (rare)

  • mild irritability and crying (rare).

For additional information on teething and how to keep your little one comfortable, check out our baby teething article, which describes easy home remedies for sore gums, such as gently massaging the gums and offering a teething toy made with firm rubber. Watch the video below to learn a few more ways to soothe your teething baby!

When to Contact Your Healthcare Provider

Although teething doesn’t cause a fever directly, we know it can be scary for you when your baby or toddler becomes ill and develops a fever at any time. Remember that fevers in babies, whether teething or not, are a little different than in older children and adults. Your baby’s healthcare provider may have specific instructions on when and how to be in touch when your little one has a fever. Besides contacting your provider if your baby develops a fever, there are a few other symptoms of illness to look out for while teething, including vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms could indicate a medical condition that may require treatment. Talk to your child’s healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

The Bottom Line

Teething really doesn’t cause fevers in babies or toddlers. Although your little one could develop a small rise in body temperature (a low-grade fever) when teething, it’s rare. A fever is typically a sign of something else, which could need medical attention. Your healthcare provider is always there to support you through these moments or when you have any questions or concerns. Download our New Parent Guide to learn more about what you and your baby might experience as you enter the postpartum world.