What Is the Connection Between Teething and Diaper Rash?

It's not clear whether teething and diaper rashes are relates, but some speculate increased saliva during teething could lead to diaper rash by causing diarrhea.
Cool washcloths can help reduce teething pain.
Teething rings kept cool before use can ease teething discomfort and speed recovery from diaper rash.
Heavy drooling is expected during teething.
Article Details
  • Written By: Henry Gaudet
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2014
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Teething and diaper rash often occur at the same time, giving babies two reasons to feel miserable. There is however, some dispute over the connection between the two, such as whether teething can cause a bout of diaper rash or whether the link is coincidental. A number of theories attempt to explain why they are frequently observed at the same time, including excess saliva, a change in the urine, and other causes.

Parents report a range of symptoms associated with teething, usually just before or while the baby is cutting teeth. Many babies get diaper rash along with a low grade fever and mild diarrhea. Severe diarrhea or high fevers are not associated with teething, so if a baby has these symptoms, parents should take him or her to a medical professional.

Babies usually begin teething at somewhere between four and seven months of age, and they continue cutting teeth for the next two years. Irritability and constant chewing are good signs that a tooth is on the way. Heavy drooling is expected, and this drooling can cause skin irritation on the face, neck and chest. Saliva might be responsible for diaper rash as well. Some people have speculated that swallowed saliva might loosen stools and cause bouts of diarrhea, both of which can irritate the skin and cause diaper rash.

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Changes in urine also might be responsible for diaper rash. During teething, urine can become stronger and more alkaline, increasing irritation. If either stools or urine are suspected, a parent may find that frequent diaper changing will help to relieve any rash.

Some people are not convinced that there is any link between teething and diaper rash, and they suggest that these conditions might not be related. Babies of teething age are also being introduced to new foods, for example, and this change in diet — rather than teething — could be responsible for any observed diaper rash.

Regardless of the possible causes, the treatments for these problems remain the same. Cool washcloths or teething rings can provide relief from teething pain and help speed up the process. Teething gels can be useful too, and parents can consult with a healthcare professional for recommendations regarding the use of painkillers such as infant ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

The best defense against diaper rash is a clean, dry bottom. Time spent without a diaper will let air reach the skin and help dry up the rash. Frequent bathing will provide relief and distraction, as it will keep the baby's bottom clean. Over-the-counter creams and ointments can be very effective, but for best results, they should be applied to skin that is thoroughly dry.

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Discuss this Article

anon349414
Post 5

They have to be related. My 14 month old daughter is finally cutting teeth and just spontaneously got the worst diaper rash she's ever had. I'm glad I found this article. I felt like I was beating my head against a wall trying to figure out what caused it.

anon338315
Post 4

My eight month old has a tooth that just came through the gums. It became visible about a week ago. At the same time, a diaper rash just magically appeared. Ever wonder where the pimple on your face come from? When you went to sleep it was not there, but during those six hours of sleep, a giant mountain grew on your face. That's how I felt about this diaper rash because after almost nine months, no diaper rash at all. Now this rash was fierce! Her bottom was inflamed, swollen and red hot, with patches of raw areas. I started with Desitin – you know it comes in your baby shower gift set. It did nothing. It actually made it worse! My sweet pea didn't want me to touch or even look at her tushy. After three days I put together some coconut oil (used for everything) and cornstarch in a baby food jar. I started using it on Sunday and by Wednesday the rash was gone! The color is back and the swelling is gone.

anon305843
Post 3

I am a believer! It comes and goes when she gets new teeth.

Monika
Post 2

@strawCake - I'm not buying it. I'm pretty sure the only thing that's related about teething and diaper rash is that they occur around the same age. I think this is a great example of correlation, not causation.

The whole idea of swallowing excess saliva and it causing loose stools seems a little silly to me. As the article pointed out, babies also start eating new food around this same time too!

And as far as the alkaline urine thing, I think it would have to be pretty far removed from normal to cause that much irritation. I'm just not buying it!

strawCake
Post 1

Wow! There is so much about babies I don't know. I had no idea anyone thought there was a connection between teething and diaper rash. At first glance, those two things seem completely unrelated.

However, after reading the article I could totally buy them being slightly related. I have seen teething babies and they do drool up a storm. And of course not all of it ends up on their little faces! I know they must swallow a lot of it, so I could see how it would cause loose stools, thus causing diaper rash.

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