Is your little one suffering from a teething rash?
As a new parent, you might get extremely worried when you first notice your baby’s irritated skin and other symptoms of teething such as a slightly raised body temperature and wincing as a result of teething pain.
Hopefully, you will be able to take some comfort in knowing that your baby’s teething rash is a completely normal part of your child’s development and that it is most likely nothing to worry about.
What’s more, there are steps you can take towards preventing teething rash from getting worse, and in many cases you’ll be able to manage it without needing to consult your child’s doctor or dentist.
Are you ready to learn more about teething rash, including how to spot it, how to treat it, and how to know when it is time to see a medical professional?
What is teething rash, aka drool rash?
Teething rashes are extremely common in babies around the time when they are teething. You may also hear teething rash referred to as either drool rash, diaper rash or atopic dermatitis; all three of these terms generally mean the same thing.
All babies develop slightly differently, so the teething process can start a little earlier or later depending on the child. Having said that, the most common age to start teething – and potentially devleoping a teething rash – is around 4 to 6 months from birth.
When your baby is teething, he or she will drool a lot more than usual. The mouth produces more saliva as the new teeth are pushing their way up and erupting through the gums. Because your baby doesn’t have much bodily control yet at this early stage of development, all of the excess drool tends to spill down your baby’s front, covering everything including his or her lips, cheeks, neck, chest and of course clothes. Wearing wet clothes can not only cause your baby great discomfort, it can also irritate the skin further.
It is is primarily a digestive enzyme found in saliva that causes the rash. Babies have very sensitive skin, so when exposed to excessive amounts of saliva and the digestive enzymes it contains, it can quickly cause irritation.
Common signs off teething rashes
What are the most common signs that your baby is developing or has developed a teething rash? Let’s take a look.
Red patches of skin
The most common symptom of teething rash is red splotches appearing on your baby’s skin. These splotches do not appear randomly, but in specific places where your baby’s skin has come into contact with and been covered in saliva.
You will most likely notice the redness around your baby’s mouth, chin, cheeks, neck and even chest. Your baby’s rash may worry you at first, because it can look a lot more dramatic than it really is.
In addition to the redness, which is a clear sign of irritation, another important feature of your baby’s skin rash is that there may be raised bumps on the skin, which can feel similar to gooseflesh. These bumps are just another sign that something is irritating your baby’s sensitive skin.
Your baby’s rash may cause him or her to become more fuzzy and cranky than usual. Your baby may cry more and be more difficult to soothe or get to sleep.
A raised temperature
Yet another important symptom of teething rash is a slightly raised body temperature.
A raised temperature can be a sign of fever or another health issue, so this symptom may disturb you. Yet, it is perfectly normal for teething babies to be running a bit of a temperature.
How to prevent and treat teething rash at home
Now that you are well-equipped to spot teething rash as it is developing, your next question is probably what you can do to prevent teething rash, or at least lessen its intensity.
Well, here are the things you can do to help alleviate drool rash and soothe your baby’s irritated skin.
Keep your baby’s skin clean and dry
You cannot control how much your baby drools while he or she is teething, but keeping your baby as dry and comfortable as possible is the best way to prevent teething rash from taking hold and from going from bad to worse.
Keep a soft cloth with you at all times, and wipe gently around your baby’s mouth whenever you notice him or her drooling. Of course, you will not always be there to catch drool in the moment, but stop the issue at the root whenever you can.
When wiping your baby’s lips, chin or neck, always use a soft fabric and use gentle movements so you don’t end up causing any further irritation to your child’s skin.
Use a suitable rash cream
Applying a thin coat of a petroleum jelly or bland cream to your baby’s skin can help create a protective barrier between the skin and any excess saliva your baby may excrete while teething.
Using the right, soothing rash cream on your baby’s skin can really make a difference. Petroleum jelly is a great option, but you can also use Waxelene, which works wonders for both teething rashes or diaper rahes, and dry skin in general. Yet another great option is lanolin ointment, which is made from the natural wax found in sheep’s wool. Not only does lanolin ointment protect the skin, it can also help heal dried and irritated skin.
Adding protective barrier cream is particularly important when venturing outside as it gives your baby’s sensitive skin a bit of protection against the weather, in addition to helping prevent rash.
Use a fabric bib – and change it frequently
A key thing you can do to try to keep your baby as dry as possible is to use fabric bibs to help absorb some of the baby’s saliva.
Needless to say that if your baby is drooling a lot, you will have to change the bib out frequently.
Giving your baby a gentle gum massage may not prevent him or her from drooling, but it can help alleviate any pain or discomfort your baby is feeling as a result of teething.
To give your baby a gum massage, simply place a clean finger on the gums where the pain seems to be, or where a new tooth appears to be erupting. Gently rub the sore area for a couple of minutes.
Use cold teething toys
If your baby is teething, you have probably already gotten hold of some teething toys to help keep your little one preoccupied with something other than the discomfort of teething. But did you know that you can increase the effectiveness of your baby’s teething toys by placing the in the refrigerator before use?
Keeping your baby’s teething toys in the fridge keeps them cool and pleasant for your baby to put in his or her mouth. Note that it is important that you don’t put your baby’s teething toys in the freezer, as this would make them too cold.
Cut down pacifier use
Another thing that may help your baby overcome teething rash is to limit the amount of time your baby’s pacifier use. When your baby is using a pacifier, it stimulates the production of saliva. A simple and easy way to get your baby to drool (slightly) less is to start weaning your little one off pacifiers sooner rather than later.
Limit your baby’s exposure to other irritants
As already mentioned several times throughout this brief article, your baby’s skin is extremely sensitive and prone to irritation.
No matter what you do, you will not be able to fully prevent your baby from teething, drooling, and potentially developing a rash. You can, however, make sure that there is nothing else irritating your baby’s skin.
In other words, use only scent-free and dye-free soaps, lotions and detergents for and around your baby.
When washing your baby’s skin, use warm water and make sure you pat the skin dry very gently.
When to see a doctor
How do you know when a teething rash is so severe that it is necessary to see the baby’s doctor?
In the vast majority of cases, teething rash, or drooling rash as most medical professionals call it, goes away on its own within a few weeks. In some cases, however, the rash can last longer and can seem to cause your baby quite a bit of distress.
In some cases, the symptoms of other types of rashes or health issues can appear very similar to teething rash. Here are a few pointers that will help you determine whether you need to take your baby to see a medical professional:
- The rash is accompanied by breathing difficulties, a high fever or vomiting
- The rash is affecting your baby’s eyes
- Blue, red or purple dots appear in the rash-affected area