Just like you are sure your baby’s teeth will come in, and you will go through a difficult time together, you also need to prepare for the teething rash that accompanies it. Many people expect their babies to cry because of the pain of their teeth cutting through the gums. Missing out on many nights of sleep is another given.
But few are prepared for the side effect of this critical process in your baby’s life: the rash. Not only that but to those caught completely unawares, the red spots can be a cause for concern. Fear not, as we have prepared all the information you need. And we made sure to mention the cases in which you should consult your pediatrician.
Luckily, this article will reach you in time. This way, you can prevent and prepare instead of treating and worrying about it.
UNDERSTANDING THE NASTY TEETHING RASH
What is a rash from teething?
Most likely, you expect most signs of teething to be in the mouth of Baby. And consequently in your ears and sleepless nights for everybody in the house. However, a rash from teething can appear, and it is good to know how and when to associate it with the process of teeth coming in.
A teething rash looks like flat or slightly raised patches. It looks just like a regular rash or eczema. This is why most parents will rush to the doctor thinking it’s something Baby ate or came in contact with. Many suspect allergies and other irritating factors such as harsh or perfumed detergents and creams.
Can teething cause a rash?
So, let’s get one thing straight. How can teething cause a rash?
Keep in mind that babies are expected to get their first tooth around the 6th month. However, every baby is different, and the process can begin as early as his 3rd month or as late as his 12th month. It will be both painful and itchy, and Baby will continuously try to find relief in whatever way possible. Some tug on their ears and cheeks, especially when the teeth coming in are the molars. Others keep rubbing their cheeks and eyes.
An accompanying side-effect of teething is excessive drooling. As Baby is tiny and does not control his face muscles very well yet, a lot of this saliva will seep out of the mouth, causing that unsightly image parents are so accustomed to. What they may not know is that rushing to clean their baby’s face is recommended.
This saliva is the main culprit and the one responsible for the rash we are talking about. Why? Because it contains an irritating digestive enzyme that helps on the inside but is not that great in large quantities and contact with Baby’s sensitive skin. What is more, it is antimicrobial to protect the body from some germs inserted in the mouth. Here is how it affects Baby:
Teething rash on face
The saliva comes out of the mouth and seeps around it. If the baby is playing or rubbing his cheeks with his hands, he will get it all over the sensitive skin. You usually recognize a teething rash on a great teething face when the red spots are all over Baby’s cheeks and on his neck.
Teething rash on body
You might not see it right away, but you may notice that Baby’s clothes are always soaked around the neck and on his chest. Also, you will see the teething rash on the body when changing Baby. It’s caused by the same saliva, with its antimicrobial effect, affecting the delicate skin of your baby. A good idea would be to use a bib even between feedings. Also, change clothes every time you change the diaper. This way, saliva dampened clothes never take you by surprise.
Teething rash on back
If excessive drooling goes on for a very long time without anyone noticing, the baby’s sheets may become drenched in saliva. And this is how you get a teething rash on back. As you get accustomed to checking your baby for drool on his face and his shirt for dampness, you should also check his bed and even have a towel placed underneath the sheet for better absorption.
What is the best-recommended teething rash treatment?
Since it is always better to prevent than to treat, it’s great to start early and pay attention to Baby. As soon as he hits the 3 months mark, insist on keeping the face clean, and you can even notice when more drool starts coming in. Keep the gums soothed and wipe Baby’s face with a fresh piece of damp cloth.
Change the onesie with every diaper change and make sure he does not sleep in saliva dampened sheets. If the amount of drool is too much for you to wipe off regularly or if wiping off causes more irritation, create a moisture barrier.
Apply petroleum jelly, Aquaphor or even coconut oil on your baby’s face and neck. The saliva will still seep out, but the skin will be protected. Sure, this is not the most pleasant view of your baby’s greasy face, but why add irritation and more pain to what a teething baby is going through.
If you did not manage to prevent the rash, you can still stop it in its tracks. Lanolin ointment is a great teething rash treatment that keeps the irritation from getting worse. This is best done when your baby sleeps, to avoid him from rubbing his face and getting it into his eyes. Petroleum jelly can also prevent, keep the rash from getting worse and soothe the skin. Chamomile tea and cold chew toys will alleviate the pain of Baby’s gums and this might reduce the amount of saliva produced.
Using topical numbing agents is a no-go as the FDA warns against the side-effects. Unfortunately, as unpleasant as this time is, you just have to rough it. Also, although the market is full of over-the-counter medication and there is a pill for everything, there have been very few successful cases.
When to contact your doctor about the rash?
Although this is a problem most parents manage to handle on their own with minimum instructions and a lot of common sense, it would not be a bad idea to consult your pediatrician before deciding on a course of action. First, make sure the excessive drooling is indeed caused by teething, and that Baby does not have any other developmental problems. Once the cause has been established, see what the doctor tells you about it. What ointment and course of action he sees to be best suited.
Do consult your doctor when the affected skin area looks chapped or when the red spots have signs of infection, are weepy and painful. Usually, this rash should be nothing more than an irritation and you can decide for yourself if it looks terrible. In these cases, the doctor may have to recommend an excellent cream to calm the rash.
It is important to remember that teething, although it may cause the rash, is never associated with other symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, and rashes in other parts of the body than the ones that come in contact with the saliva. There may be some coughing as some of the babies may choke on the excess saliva. However, if the rash is accompanied by these symptoms, along with constant fussiness, the problem is not associated with teething and you should see a doctor right away.
There might or might not be an easy way around this. Some children breeze through their teething period, while others experience every waking moment to the fullest. It is best to be prepared for the rash to be a reality just like the teething period will be and brace for it. There is also the possibility of Baby learning to deal with the situation in time. Things can get better. As far as the teething rash problem is concerned, keep in mind the fact that it is preventable, manageable and treatable.
Featured image: unsplash.com
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