Can teething cause diarrhea in babies? It shouldn’t – even though lots of us have been told otherwise.
During teething, babies drool – a lot. The standard theory is that, because there’s so much of it, some of that drool ends up in baby’s poop, turning it into a looser and discolored teething poop or teething diarrhea.
Really, though, this isn’t something that actually happens. And doctors do have a little warning: Associating diarrhea with teething can make you miss the real cause of your baby’s tummy changes.
Here’s what you need to know about your baby’s teething symptoms – and some other causes of diarrhea.
In this article 📝
- First, what counts as diarrhea?
- Does teething cause diarrhea and diaper rash?
- What causes baby diarrhea?
- What are teething symptoms?
- Can teething cause stomach upset? Final thoughts
First, what counts as diarrhea?
Let’s get our terminology straight from the start.
Babies poop – and the quantity, texture, frequency, color, and smell can differ, dramatically.
Some babies poop after every meal. Some can go a few days without a dirty diaper. Both are normal. But what counts as diarrhea?
You’ll be able to recognize baby diarrhea if it looks a bit like this:
- It’s darker, greener, or yellower than usual
- It’s wetter or more watery
- It’s smellier and usually fouler smelling too
- There’s simply more of it – in volume
- It appears more frequently
What it shouldn’t be, though, is white, black, or red. If it is, get in touch with your doctor. You can find more details on baby diarrhea here.
Does teething cause diarrhea and diaper rash?
The short answer is no, teething doesn’t cause diarrhea or diaper rash.
The idea that baby drool can affect the consistency and frequency of baby stool is simply a myth.
But there are good reasons why teething and diarrhea are associated.
Babies tend to start teething at around six months (more on the teething timetable), and that’s roughly the same time that they start trying solid food (more on the feeding timetable).
And with changes to food, there are usually some changes to poop. Totally normal.
What causes baby diarrhea?
So, if teething isn’t causing the loose poops, what is?
- Sensitivity to food. This can be anything from trying something new, trying solid food for the first time, or a difficulty digesting something specific. When feeding your baby something new, take things slow and see how they react before introducing something else.
- Sensitivity to milk. Dairy can cause upset babies’ tummies. It can be in their new foods, in formula, or even in something in your diet, if you’re breastfeeding.
- Viruses and bacteria. This is the most common cause of baby diarrhea at this age. They’re putting everything they find in their mouths, so it makes sense. Usually, it’s nothing to worry about.
- Medications. Antibiotics tend to cause upset tummies.
- Something else. Sometimes, diarrhea just happens.
If you are worried about baby diarrhea, talk to your doctor. They’ll probably reassure you that it’s something pretty normal, but you should always follow your mama instincts.
And the treatment? Usually, it’s just a matter of waiting it out and making sure that your baby stays hydrated.
If their lips or mouth is dry, they don’t produce tears when they cry, or they’re more irritable than usual, it might be dehydration, which means it’s definitely time to talk to your doctor.
What are teething symptoms?
Diarrhea shouldn’t be one of them. But what teething symptoms should you expect to see?
- Sometimes, nothing at all. No pain or discomfort in sight. Yes, it happens!
- Drool, and lots of it
- A desire to gnaw on everything
- A gum that’s sore and red where the tooth is coming through
- A mild fever (less than 100.4ᵒF)
- Flushed cheeks or a rash on their face
- Lots of ear pulling
- Being more fretful, fussy, or irritable than usual
Can teething cause stomach upset? Final thoughts
Teething shouldn’t cause diarrhea or an upset stomach. But as teething and the transition to food tend to happen at similar times, the symptoms of both can be a little hard to distinguish.
Diarrhea will pass. In the meantime, make sure to keep your baby hydrated.
Good luck, mama!
💡 More from The 411:
Tooth Fairy Letter Templates: What to Write
What to Do About Baby Diarrhea
When Do Babies Start Teething? Symptoms, Signs and Remedies
How Long Does Teething Last?
Baby Poop: the Ultimate Guide!
How To Soothe A Teething Baby At Night
A Quick Guide to Teething Poop & Diarrhea
What are the Best Teething Foods?
Baby Ear Infection vs. Teething: How to Spot the Difference
An Introduction to Baby Allergies