Is Diarrhoea a Symptom of Teething?
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On seeing your baby’s first tooth, you will be overjoyed. But teething can be an uncomfortable experience for a baby, especially when he is unable to convey his pain to you. There are many symptoms of teething in babies and diarrhoea is one of them. If your baby is teething and is suffering from diarrhoea, read to know what you can do.
Why Do Babies Get Diarrhoea While Teething
The connection of teething with diarrhoea has been established as many parents noticed it in their children. However, there is no evidence justifying that teething and diarrhoea are connected. An increase in drooling while teething was also thought to be a cause of diarrhoea while teething. Saliva production in the mouth is increased during teething and babies may swallow a lot of saliva during this stage, which may disturb the balance of the gastric system, causing diarrhoea. However, even this cannot be taken as the exact cause of diarrhoea in babies.
What is strongly believed today is that both these activities are indirectly connected, making them almost coincidental but not strange. Teething is a difficult period for an infant. The constant irritation in the gums causes them to reach out for different objects, which are then held in the mouth and chewed. These objects may not necessarily be clean and could have germs and other microbes on them. Since babies tend to put everything they can find in their mouth, the chances of bacteria entering the body are extremely high. Hence, they may get diarrhoea. A baby’s immune system is also not fully developed, so his body may not fight bacteria and infections and, as a result, he may get diarrhoea.
While this explanation might be satisfactory, it poses a grave danger to the child. The early years of a baby are usually filled with instances where infections keep occurring all the time. Be it intestinal infections or ear infections, a child is constantly battling them until the immune system becomes strong enough to wade them off. The diarrhoea that emerges during teething could, in fact, camouflage the symptoms of the actual infection. Loose motions might be attributed to poor hygiene and would be disregarded as a normal occurrence when, in fact, it could indicate the presence of a stronger infection thriving within that needs immediate medical attention.
How Long Does Teething Diarrhoea Last?
If diarrhoea manifests primarily when the teething behaviour sets in for the child, the symptoms should usually go away in a few days once the right precautions are taken. However, if the problem continues for around a week or more and tends to repeat every month, you may need to take your child for a medical examination.
Tips to Deal With Teething Diarrhoea in Infants
Diarrhoea that occurs when your child is undergoing teething is quite discomforting, but it does not call for any particular treatment. However, you may need to intervene immediately if the little one has diarrhoea for more than a few days and passes loose stools nearly 5-6 times in a single day. Here is what you can do if your baby has diarrhoea:
1. Talk to Your Doctor
The consistent presence of teething diarrhoea should be brought to your doctor’s attention as soon as possible. This helps in diagnosing the presence of any other infections that might be causing similar symptoms, and corrective action can be taken accordingly. At times, certain medication might also be recommended to counter the condition or the bacteria, too. Talking to your doctor is highly recommended, as diarrhoea can dehydrate your infant.
2. Maintain Hygiene
The process of teething causes immense irritation to the gums of the baby. While most babies cry due to it, others attempt to calm themselves down by biting the gums or chewing on any hard objects they can lay their hands on. These could be toys or even other items specifically bought to counter teething issues. If these are not kept clean and sanitised regularly, it can be an open invitation for numerous microbes to enter his body, which can cause infections to thrive within and worsen his health.
3. Adjust the Diet of Your Child
If your child is experiencing diarrhoea as a result of teething, an adjustment to his diet could provide some important benefits to his body. Start by increasing the frequency of breastfeeding or formula milk. Give him enough fluids to keep his body hydrated. You can also feed him purees of vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and bananas. Rice water can also be given. All of these foods can keep the diarrhoea under control. Also, If you give cow milk or juices to your child, stop it temporarily until the diarrhoea is relieved.
With the above-mentioned tips, you can prevent diarrhoea from occurring in the first place. Teething is a natural process of the child’s development and diarrhoea is one of its symptoms. But, worry not, as your baby will be fine in a few days. However, if the problem persists for long, feel free to consult a doctor!
Also Read: Common Baby Teething Symptoms