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Does Teething Cause Diaper Rash?

Understanding The Teething Process

Dr. Shayna Smith Profile Photo

Written by Dr. Shayna Smith on May 13, 2021

We know it can be hard to watch your baby go through the teething process, and it only makes matters worse when you’re trying to figure out what all the different symptoms of teething are and how to best treat them.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the apparent correlation between teething and diaper rash, and how you can help your baby through the process.

Teething and Diaper Rash: The Basics

Before we get into the relationship between teething and diaper rash, let’s take a look at an overview of both.

Teething

Teething is basically the process that naturally occurs when your baby’s teeth start to push through their gum line. Although it can often be painful, teething happens to every baby and usually starts when they are 4-7 months old and lasts until they’re about two and a half.

That being said, if your baby starts teething later, there’s nothing to worry about. Just like with walking and talking, the timeline for teething is different for every baby.

The symptoms of teething are different for every baby, but there are a few common ones to look out for. They include:

  • Gums that are swollen, tender, or both
  • The desire to chew on hard objects
  • More crying and fussing than usual
  • Slight fever (if the fever is over 101 degrees, call your doctor)
  • Coughing
  • One cheek is flushed and red (sometimes referred to as teething rash)
  • More drool than usual

Although teething is painful, it shouldn’t cause your baby’s gums to bleed, nor should it result in swelling in any part of your baby’s face. If either of these occur, it’s a good idea to call your doctor.

For the most part, the symptoms of teething start about four days before a new tooth comes in, and last about three days after the tooth pops through.

Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is the name for the uncomfortable, red rash that sometimes develops on your baby’s bum or around the area of the diaper.

There are two main ways to identify if your baby has diaper rash. The first is if you notice a red, blotchy irritated skin on your baby’s bum, thighs, or genitals. You can also tell if your baby has diaper rash if they seem a little more fussy than usual, especially if they seem uncomfortable during diaper changes.

Diaper rash is common in babies and has several causes such as:

  • Irritation from urine or stool in the diaper. For the most part, stool is more irritating, so it’s a good idea to change your baby’s diaper frequently if they are experiencing diarrhea or generally frequent bowel movements.
  • Sensitive skin is another cause of diaper rash. Babies born with sensitive skin conditions such as eczema are more likely to develop diaper rash.
  • Tight fitting clothing and diapers can lead to diaper rash if they cause repeated chafing and rubbing.
  • As you introduce new foods into your baby’s diet, the content of their stool changes which can also lead to diaper rash.
  • Taking antibiotics can also lead to a diaper rash because antibiotics kill both the bad bacteria causing the infection and the good bacteria that regulates yeast levels. When good bacteria are killed, babies are at higher risk for yeast infections which can result in diaper rash.

Although diaper rash is easy to treat, there are a few things you can do to prevent your baby from developing it in the first place.

  • Make sure your baby’s diaper isn’t on too tight. When a diaper is too tight, air can’t flow through the diaper which causes moisture to build up and increases the chances of diaper rash.
  • Change your baby's diaper often. For newborns, you can change the diaper every 2-3 hours and gradually increase the time between diaper changes as they get older.
  • Leave time for your baby to scoot around without a diaper on. Allowing your baby’s bum time to air dry is a gentle way to dry the skin without causing irritation.
  • Rinse your baby’s bum with warm water before you put a new diaper on to clean the area before a new diaper is on. Make sure you pat (don’t scrub!) the area totally dry after rinsing and before putting the new diaper on.

Does Teething Cause Diaper Rash?

Although teething is often cited as the reason for diaper rash in babies, there is no correlation between the two.

One instance in which teeth can indirectly cause diaper rash is if the excessive saliva created during teething upsets a baby's stomach and causes diarrhea which can lead to diaper rash.

However, even in this instance, there’s no direct correlation between the two.

Another indirect way in which teething can “cause” diaper rash is if your baby chews on toys that have bacteria on them ,which can upset their digestive system and cause diarrhea. Luckily, this is easy to avoid by regularly cleaning and sanitizing your baby’s toys.

Treatments

While both teething and diaper rash are uncomfortable, there are several ways you can treat the symptoms of both at home and get your baby feeling better.

Teething

One of the best ways to ease the pain of teething for your baby is to give them something cold to put in their mouth. You can use a cold pacifier, clean wet washcloth, spoon, or refrigerated teething toy to soothe the pain. It’s important to remember when giving something cold, like a teething toy, that it’s not completely frozen because frozen toys can be too intense for their mouths.

Another easy way to soothe teething pain is by gently massaging your baby’s gums with your finger, making sure you wash your hands properly before doing so. If your baby doesn’t have any teeth yet, you can let them chew on your finger as well, and if they’re over 9 months old, you can give your baby a little cold water to drink.

If these remedies are not working and you want to give your baby an over-the-counter medicine to help provide some pain relief caused by teething, you can give them Genexa’s Kids’ Pain Reliever & Fever Reducer. The active ingredient in this medication is acetaminophen which temporarily relieves minor aches and pains. It has no artificial, inactive ingredients so you can breathe a sigh of relief that your little one is only getting the medicine they need to help with the pain, without any additional unnecessary artificial ingredients.

Diaper Rash

The best way to treat diaper rash is to clean and dry your baby’s rash frequently.

If that doesn’t work and the rash persists, you have a few options.

You can try a mild hydrocortisone or antifungal cream depending on the type of rash. If topical creams are not effective and your baby is diagnosed with a bacterial infection, oral antibiotics are often prescribed.

While you’re waiting for the symptoms of the rash to clear, bathe your baby every day in warm water with a mild, nourishing, fragrance-free soap.

Although there are over-the-counter topical ointments and creams that can soothe diaper rash, there are a few ingredients you should steer clear of when you’re choosing a cream for your baby. Anything with baking soda, benzocaine, salicylates, phenol, or boric acid will likely cause irritation.

For the most part, the safest bet is to go for products specifically marketed for babies.

Conclusion

It’s often said that teething is a cause of diaper rash, but there is no real correlation between the two. Teething is the process through which your baby’s teeth push through their gum line, and diaper rash is skin irritation that often develops on baby’s bums. Although both can be uncomfortable for your baby, they are easily treatable at home through various remedies and medication.



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