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Experts warn parents that teething does not cause fever

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Published on
January 22, 2024
February 20, 2019

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As any parent will tell you, when your baby or toddler is cutting teeth, it can be a trying time. Sore gums can cause your child to become irritable, salivate excessively and have a runny nose. Whilst some children breeze through the teething period without any noticeable symptoms, the majority of parents experience fussy days.

However, a study from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Victoria found that 70-85% of Australian parents mistakenly believed teething caused a wide range of health problems. This included fever. Researchers examined the common misconception that teething can cause young children to develop a fever. They analysed studies from eight different countries. It was determined that, whilst teething can make babies feel miserable, it usually won’t make them sick.

While the study, published in the March 2016 Paediatrics “Signs and Symptoms of Primary Tooth Eruption: a Meta-Analysis” (published online Feb. 18), found that a slight increase in temperature was detected on the day that the tooth erupted, the increase didn’t constitute a true fever (a body temperature of 38 C or over). Furthermore it was not present in the weeks or months prior to the tooth appearing as some parents assumed. The authors pointed out that this was important because if a child develops a true fever, assuming that the cause is teething may lead doctors or parents to miss possible illness or infection that requires treatment.

Emali’s policy extract relating to Paracetamol and Ibuprofen:

As recommended by the Department of Education Children’s Services, Paracetamol and Ibuprofen will not be administered by any staff member at the centre. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen can mask signs and symptoms of serious illness or injury. Due to this, educators must not give Paracetamol or Ibuprofen as a standard first aid response to fever. If a child is in need of Paracetamol or Ibuprofen, then this suggests that they are not well enough to participate in the centre’s program. Therefore the child is not well enough to be in care.

The fact is the teething period also coincides with a period small children are prone to viral infections.  If your child has a fever, temperature over 38 C, we recommend making a visit to your GP.


The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only. Therefore it is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.

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