What Is A Teething Rash? 3 Major Signs & 3 GENIUS Solutions!

By  Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH | Updated - 18 March 2021

Not sure whether your baby has a teething rash or not? Well, you're in the right place!

In today's article, we will be breaking down EXACTLY what a teething rash is... (and what it might NOT be!)

What causes a teething rash (it's not quite what you think!) 

PLUS the BEST treatments to help your little one!

So let's get right on into it!

Does My Baby Have Teething Rash

What is a teething rash?

A teething rash appears on your baby’s skin around the mouth, chin, neck or chest when they are teething. 

These rashes are caused by excessive drooling which is a common sign of teething in young babies. As the drool dries on your baby’s skin, enzymes in the saliva cause skin irritation that results in sore flat scaly skin or bumps. OUCH.

Is It Really A Teething Rash?

Identifying and classifying a rash that is due to your baby’s teeth coming through may not be as simple as you think. 

Some parents swear that their babies also develop diaper or nappy rash when they are teething. However, this is more likely caused by the fact that if your baby swallows a lot of saliva when they are teething the enzymes in the drool may irritate the digestive system and result in mild diarrhea. This in turn may cause a rash on your baby’s bottom.

But, there are lots of reasons why your baby might have a rash. 

A drool rash which is found around the mouth, neck or chest does NOT necessarily have to be caused by emergent teeth... some babies are just prone to drooling whether they are teething or not!

I know of lots of babies that have to live with a bib or muslin permanently tied around their necks for months because of dribble, my own son included.

Symptoms Of A Teething Rash

A teething rash will identifiable by:

  • blotchy, red, or discolored skin around the mouth, chin, neck or chest
  • bumpy or raised skin
  • chapped and dry skin
  • the rash may also have a slight smell due to food or milk in the saliva.

It will NOT be accompanied by a fever and should NOT bleed, crack or ooze and if your baby has a rash with any of these symptoms you should seek medical advice.

Dr. Anna Leah Grossberg, a pediatric dermatologist and assistant professor of Dermatology at Johns Hopkins says that teething or drool rash is essentially a form of eczema: 

It’s a contact dermatitis caused by the moisture of your baby’s drool” she says.

Constant wiping and rubbing away drool which strips sensitive skin of natural oils, can also cause irritation and dryness and this can become a never ending cycle.

It is important to know what other common rashes your baby might be prone to in order to not make the mistake of leaving a potentially harmful rash untreated. The appearance of a rash and where it occurs on the body will greatly determine whether it is a teething rash or not:

Baby acne

This is a common rash that occurs on the nose and cheeks of newborn babies and usually disappears within a few weeks or months.

Eczema

Otherwise known as contact dermatitis this rash is probably the one that most resembles a teething or drool rash. As a teething rash is a type of eczema this is not surprising. True eczema will appear on other parts of the body such as arms and legs and is itchy scaly, crusty and may weep. 

Hand foot and mouth disease

This rash would also be found on the soles or the feet and palms of the hand and be accompanied by a fever and sore throat.

Fifth disease (slapped cheek)

This rash appears on the cheeks and sometimes also on legs, arms or buttocks. It is often associated with fever and runny nose and symptoms are usually mild.

Meningitis

A rash caused by meningitis will not usually appear on the face alone and will be accompanied by other defined symptoms. It is important to know the symptoms of meningitis as, in it’s viral form, it can be fatal.

Signs and symptoms of meningitis are:

  • a rash that does not disappear when pressed against a glass (“non-blanching”)
  • a stiff neck
  • sensitivity to light
  • headache
  • confusion
  • high body temperature
  • cold hands and feet
  • extreme sleepiness

If you are at all concerned that your child may have any of the above skin conditions, please visit your doctor immediately. It may not be serious, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Especially with meningitis symptoms.

Teething Rash Treatment and Solutions At Home

Here are a few at home preventions and treatments for your baby's teething rash!

Teething Rash Preventions

If your baby keeps rubbing or scratching at their teething rash it will get worse as their hands are dirty and covered in bacteria that then makes the condition worse. 

As prevention is alway better than cure, if your baby is dribbling a lot then try the following:

  • Using something to act as a barrier to the moisture such as baby lotion, lanolin ointment or petroleum jelly with added aloe vera will help the rash from spreading and help reduce irritation.
  • Gently wipe the drool off using a soft towel, cotton muslin or tissue.
  • A bib or muslin will create a protective layer that prevents your baby’s dribble from coming into contact with the skin around their neck and chest. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out my Parenting Toolbox to see my favourite Muslin Cloths!
  • Minimise the use of pacifiers as they will allow an area of drool to collect between the skin and the pacifier. If you can limit pacifier use to sleep times only. Be sure to dry the skin around your baby’s mouth after they have been using a pacifier and apply a barrier cream.

Treatments & Solutions for Teething Rash

If a rash does establish itself resulting in irritated skin then you can:

  • Apply the petroleum jelly aloe vera mix or other over the counter barrier cream directly onto the rash to help soothe any itching.
  • Try coconut oil as it has antifungal and antimicrobial elements that are able to fight the bacteria in the rash as well providing a barrier to the offending drool
  • Place an absorbent pad under your baby’s head when they are sleeping to soak up the drool so they are not lying on a damp sheet. 
3 Treatments For Teething Rash

When to see a doctor about a teething rash

It is unusual for teething rashes to become infected BUT it is important to know when a rash requires you to seek medical advice from your doctor or pediatrician. 

As I have already stated, a teething or drool rash on your baby’s skin will not be accompanied by a high fever or be petechiae (will not disappear under pressure) 

Along with the teething rash symptoms I mentioned before, you should consult your pediatrician if your baby’s drool rash is accompanied by any of the following:

  • suddenly gets worse
  • is cracked
  • is weeping
  • is bleeding 
  • Is associated with a high fever 

Teething Rash FAQs

Here are 4 of the most common questions parents ask about teething rashes!

Can Teething Cause A Rash On Body?

Teething will not cause a rash on your baby’s arms or legs. Some people swear that teething causes diaper rash but the only way this can be the case is if enough baby saliva is swallowed it can irritate your baby’s digestive system and cause mild diarrhea. The offending diarrhea would then cause your baby to have diaper rash. 

Where Does Teething Rash Appear?

Teething rash appears around your baby’s mouth, chin, neck and chest. Not all of these areas need to be affected at once and it will vary from baby to baby.

How long do teething rashes last?

Teething rashes can last for a few days or a few months. They may come and go depending if your baby is a persistent drooler or if they only drool a lot when they are teething. It will also depend on how sensitive your baby’s skin is as some babies do seem to be more prone to a teething rash than others. 

What are signs of baby teething?

Alongside crying and irritability, there are several distinct signs that your child is getting a new tooth! Check out my Teething article for a full list of signs, my TOP teething remedies and so much more!

Oh! And before I forget! Check out my Natural Teething Toys article too for my top teething toy picks! Trust me… your baby will love you for it!

REMEMBER

If I have not answered a question about teething rash that you'd like to know, drop me an email at [email protected] and I'll get back to you ASAP!

If you enjoyed this post and know other parents who would enjoy this content, be sure to give it a share! 

As I mentioned in this post, if you're looking for products for your little one and you're not sure where to begin, be sure to check out my Parenting Toolbox.

It is full of all my favourite products which I've tried to ensure are all non-toxic, eco friendly, sustainable and, of course, they’re all baby proof!

Do you have any blog recommendations that you'd like me to write about? Drop me an email [email protected] and let me know!

I love hearing from you!

Thank you for your continued support!

Teething to Tantrums Author

Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and has been in the childcare industry as a Norland Nanny since 1982. Since then, her mission has been to help parents become the best they can possibly be. And each year, she continues to help more families understand their child's development, the trials and joys of parenting and of course, how to care for their little ones.

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