Does teething cause a fever?

Baby teethingIf your baby has a fever, chances are he is sick — not teething, according to a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In the study “Signs and Symptoms of Primary Tooth Eruption: A Meta-analysis,” it was determined that irritation, irritability and drooling were the most common signs of teething in babies. The study also concluded that while teething was associated with a rise in temperature, it was not characterized as a fever.

“Despite being a natural process of child development, the impacts of primary tooth eruption on the overall health of children are still controversial,” the study stated.

The study combined data from 10 major studies in eight different countries. According to the study, many health professionals believe there is an association between some signs and symptoms — such as fever — and the eruption of primary teeth. But while teething does cause a rise in body temperature, it was not high enough to be considered a fever — generally over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the study.

If parents assume a fever is caused by teething, they could fail to manage a likely illness, and doctors could miss a possible infection that requires treatment, according to the study.

The study also concluded that symptoms of teething tend to peak during emergence of a child's primary incisors or front teeth, which can occur between 6 and 16 months, and decreased as the child got older.

By Betsy Stein