You might see your baby’s cheeks and chin go red during teething. Here we explain what to look out for, what’s harmless and when to worry.
If a rash is associated with your baby teething, it's because excess drool is irritating their skin (Lyttle et al, 2015). And while this might cause your baby some mild discomfort, it isn’t anything to worry about.
The fact is, they’re more susceptible to a wide range of illnesses and infections at this age (Lyttle et al, 2015). So it’s useful to understand what a teething rash is.
You can soothe teething rash
This is because your baby’s dribble is what’s causing their teething rash (Lyttle et al, 2015). And that can be mopped up easily.
Try gently wiping their face and chin to help stop them getting a rash, and even cracks on the sides of their mouth (Lyttle et al, 2015). Be careful not to over-wipe or rub your baby’s face, tempting as it is, because this can make the area even more sore (NHS, 2022).
Put a bib on them to catch the drool, which also doubles as a handy cloth for wiping your baby’s face.
You could also rub some petroleum jelly on the area before you go outside to protect it from the elements, and before bed.
Did you know? All that dribble pouring from their mouth during teething has antibacterial properties when it mixes with breastmilk? This boosts your baby’s immune system (Al-Shehri, 2015). Read our article on how to breastfeed babies who have teeth.
If it’s not irritated skin, it’s important to get to the cause of their flushed cheeks
This is because if it’s not a rash caused by teething, there could be a more serious illness at play.
A fever over 38°C and other clinically important symptoms, like diarrhoea, rashes and vomiting, are very unlikely to be caused by teething. So, if your baby has these symptoms, make sure you talk to your GP or call NHS 111 (Tighe and Roe, 2007).
Other common conditions that should be ruled out if your teething baby has a fever include: croup; a respiratory or urinary tract infection; meningitis; oral herpes; constipation; or gastroenteritis (NICE, 2020).
See our article on what to do if your baby has a temperature.
Find out more about how to deal with teething
Teething can be a frustrating and confusing time for you and your baby. There’s nothing worse than seeing your little one looking miserable and in pain. For ideas on how to soothe their sore gums so they can be back to their old selves quickly, read this article.
This page was last reviewed in July 2022.
Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby: 0300 330 0700.
You might find attending one of our NCT New Baby groups helpful as they give you the opportunity to explore different approaches to important parenting issues with a qualified group leader and other new parents in your area.
Read more about fever in children from the NHS.
For more information on what other illnesses may be causing their fever, this article from NICE is very useful.
NCT has partnered with the British Red Cross to offer courses in baby first aid.
Al-Shehri SS, Knox CL, Liley HG, Cowley DM, Wright JR, Henman MG. (2015) Breastmilk-saliva interactions boost innate immunity by regulating the oral microbiome in early infancy. PLoS One. 10(9):e0135047. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0135047
Lyttle C, Stoops F, Welbury R, Wilson N. (2015) Tooth eruption and teething in children. Pharm J. 295:7883. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1211/PJ.2015.20069598
NHS. (2022) Tips for helping your teething baby. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/babys-development/teething/tips-for-… [Accessed 13th July 2022]
NICE. (2020) Teething. Available at: https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/teething/ [Accessed 23rd July 2022]