Teething is so uniquely challenging that it has inspired its own idiom: teething troubles. The definition? Problems that happen in the early stages of doing something new.
One of the teething troubles for actual teething babies is the teething rash—and this can be almost as little fun for the mama as it is for the baby.
(Sidebar: we know this can be stressful. If you need support, which we all do, reach out.
There are so many mamas in similar situations. You don’t have to do this alone. And if you need to hear this right now, you’ve got this. 🧡)
Right. Let’s start from the beginning. Can babies get a rash when teething?
In this article 📝
- Can teething cause a rash?
- What does teething rash look like?
- Where does teething rash appear?
- When will drool rash go away?
- What helps a teething face rash?
- Do babies get a rash with COVID-19?
Can teething cause a rash?
The short answer is: yes. In fact, it’s high on the list of most common teething symptoms. The other symptoms include:
- Disrupted sleep
- Swollen gums
- Mild temperature
- A desire to chew absolutely everything
(For more on teething symptoms, head here.)
So why does teething rash happen? Drool, drool, drool. 🤤🤤🤤
That’s the main culprit here. And it’s common. 92% of the babies in this study had drooling as a checked item on their list of teething symptoms.
Teething causes excess saliva. That excess saliva has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is usually your baby’s cheeks and chin.
It’s also not unusual for that ambitious drool to reach all the way to their neck and even go so far as their chest.
So why does this drool have to run around causing rashes? Can’t it just hang out on your baby’s skin without causing so much grief? If only.
That drool contains bacteria, food, and digestive enzymes—all of which might be very happy on the inside of your baby’s body and not so happy on the outside. The result? It irritates their skin and causes a rash to develop.
What does teething rash look like?
Teething rash looks like patches of tiny red or discolored bumps that are flat against the skin or slightly raised.
The skin may also look very chapped and dry. Sometimes, you might notice a bad smell because of the bacteria in the saliva.
But this is where things get complicated. Rashes in babies are not always teething-related. Finding the cause will help you get the right treatment as soon as possible.
Babies usually start teething somewhere around the six-month mark, and often have a full set of teeth by the time they’re about two-and-a-half years old (there are many variations on this timeline, so don’t worry if it doesn’t happen exactly this way).
There’s a whole lot going on in your little one’s system over this period. In the first few weeks of life, they start to lose the passive immunity given to them by the maternal antibodies you were passing along in the womb. (Thanks, mama!)
As their immune system gets used to the world, they come into contact with all sorts of foreign invaders that their bodies have to work out how to cope with. The result?
They’re more vulnerable to infection and illness—and as pediatrics specialist Dr. Lisa Markman tells us, teething can be blamed for a range of other symptoms that just happen to be occurring at the same time.
So, if your baby has a rash that looks severe or isn’t going away, reach out to your healthcare practitioner.
The sooner you know what’s underneath it all, the easier it will be to treat those bumps.
Where does teething rash appear?
Anywhere where drool has made its mark.
- Teething rash on face
Because of all that extra saliva, the area around your baby’s mouth (all the way down to their chest) might be constantly moist. This creates the ideal environment for a rash to develop. While it may be stressful for both you and your baby, it’s treatable and not contagious.
- Teething diaper rash
Teething and diaper rash feel like two concepts that should not go together. Seriously. The mouth and the diaper are on opposite ends. So why do babies get diaper rash when teething?
Well, one common explanation is that all that excess drool can lead to poops that are both runnier and higher in acidity.
This can irritate your baby’s bum and indirectly lead to diaper rash. But this is by no means the only reason for diaper rash—so you may need to search further afield for the source (read more about what causes diaper rash).
When will drool rash go away?
Teething rash usually disappears in a few weeks, or even as soon as a few days.
But be warned—teething rashes like to make a comeback and might even return a few times. But don’t worry, mama.
The whole teething process is done and dusted by the time they’re about 20 months. This too shall pass.
What helps a teething face rash?
Keep things clean and dry. Wipe away drool and create a barrier with clean bibs or clothes.
(Look, teething rash might still happen regardless of how much wiping you do—but we do what we can.)
Barrier ointments like petroleum jellies also work well. Steer clear of any scented body washes that might irritate your baby’s skin further.
Particularly if your baby has other symptoms, or the rash doesn’t seem to clear, check in with your healthcare provider to rule out more serious health concerns like severe allergies, measles, and scarlet fever.
Do babies get a rash with COVID-19?
Babies can get COVID-19, but their symptoms are typically mild.
One symptom that has been reported is something called COVID toes. In this case, the toes and/or fingers might turn red or purple—so it will look quite different from a teething rash.
Here are the CDC guidelines on what to do if you suspect you or any of your family members have COVID.
Good luck, mama!
More from The 411:
Teething Coughs: Everything You Need to Know
When Do Babies Start Teething? Symptoms, Signs and Remedies
How Long Does Teething Last?
Teething Fever: Is it a Thing?
Should You Be Worried About Baby Rash?
Key Teething Symptoms to Look Out For
How To Soothe A Teething Baby At Night
A Quick Guide to Teething Poop & Diarrhea