What Is a Teething Cough?

Babies may develop a harmless, occasional cough while teething, usually around the age of 6 to 7-months old.
If a baby's cough is accompanied by other signs of illness, such as a fever, medical attention should be sought.
Some babies experience a cough during teething, usually caused by excess saliva.
Article Details
  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2014
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The term teething cough refers to the occasional cough which some babies experience as their teeth are coming in. While this cough can understandably cause anxiety in some parents, it is usually caused by the harmless drainage of excess saliva down the back of the baby’s throat. As some infants are especially prone to viral infections such as colds during the teething process, however, parents should monitor their coughing babies for additional symptoms of illness, and should consult a physician if they are unsure of a cough’s cause.

When the teeth begin to emerge — a process that usually starts around six to seven months — most babies’ mouths produce increased amounts of saliva. While much of this excess saliva escapes as drool, some of it drips down the back of the baby’s throat. As a result of this saliva drip, some babies may develop a teething cough, or an occasional, spontaneous cough which acts to clear the throat.

While it is common for new parents to feel concerned upon hearing their baby cough, in most cases this kind of cough is natural and harmless. It should be noted, however, that a normal teething cough usually only occurs a handful of times each day. In addition, it is usually a somewhat “wet” cough that is free of barking or heaving sounds.

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Many babies are especially susceptible to viral illnesses such as colds and respiratory infections during teething, possibly because they tend to chew foreign objects to ease the pain of their teeth’s arrival. Therefore, parents should monitor coughing babies to make sure they are not displaying symptoms of illness. These symptoms can include a runny nose, sneezing, a fever that exceeds 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.33 degrees Celsius), and excessive irritability. Parents should also listen for a cough that is especially deep or has a barking or wheezing quality to it.

The presence of any of these symptoms may indicate that the baby’s cough is due to illness rather than teething. Viral infections can vary in seriousness, from the common cold to much more dangerous conditions like pneumonia. Those who suspect that an infant’s cough may not be a harmless teething cough should consult a pediatrician immediately, being sure to inform her of all of the baby’s symptoms. While the chances that the infant has developed a serious infection may not be high, it is best to exercise caution by seeking the opinion of a medical professional.

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anon232075
Post 3

They make orajel in the Qtip form so you only have a recommended dose and don't overdose. I like those.

ElizaBennett
Post 2

@rugbygirl - People talk about drooling, fussiness, and even more serious symptoms like diarrhea, a drool rash, and low-grade fever being signs of teething. The thing is that aside from the fever, a lot of things can cause those symptoms! But here's one you won't see with anything else: bulging gums. Teething pain shouldn't be constant; it will be there just right before the tooth comes in. And at that point, there will be a bulge right where the tooth is going to erupt.

You can read all sorts of remedies, like frozen wash cloths, but my babies never liked any of those. The only thing that really worked for was baby Orajel. It's easy to do too much; read the directions really carefully and only put it on the bulgy spot. This, too, shall pass!

rugbygirl
Post 1

What are some real symptoms of teething? My five-month-old has been drooling a lot, and my mother-in-law says, "Oh, she's teething" every time the baby so much as whimpers. But so far, no teeth have made an appearance. Will I really know when she's teething? Should I do anything if I think she is?

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