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Outdated Teething Myths Every Parent Needs to Ignore

Outdated Teething Myths Every Parent Needs to Ignore

There are a whole range of myths around teething that new parents still believe to this day.

Unfortunately, many of them lead to unnecessary frustration and pain for you and your little one.

In addition to this, some of the myths out there can lead to a baby becoming injured or harmed. Something every parent wants to avoid!

So in this post I’ll walk you through what these common teething myths are, and why you should avoid them in order to make that teething process a whole lot easier.

Teething is just one of the many developmental milestones your little one will achieve. If you’d like to learn about all of the developmental milestones, so you know what to expect and when, click here to download a copy of our free developmental milestones checklist.

Myth #1 – Teething causes fevers, diarrhea or running noses

One of the most common myths out here is that teething causes fevers, diarrhea or running noses.

Studies have shown that when a baby is teething, there is a very slight increase in their body temperature, but it does not result in fevers. So if your baby has a fever, meaning their body temperature is over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 degrees Celsius, it indicates that they may be fighting an illness or have an infection.

Blaming teething for fevers, diarrhea and runny noses can delay parents from seeking appropriate medical advice to treat infections such as ear infections, urinary tract infections, or other illnesses that are causing their baby pain.

That’s not to say teething doesn’t come with physical symptoms.

Proven symptoms of teething include:
  • Swollen gum tissue or an eruption cyst, which is a blue-green bubble that happens on the gum just before that tooth erupts through
  • General gum pain. Usually really mild or not even present for some children. Because of that gum pain, children will tend to chew a lot more. And when they are chewing, they’re also going to dribble a lot more because it just comes right on out of their mouth.
  • Dribble rash as a result of excess dribbling. The rash is caused by food in the dribble which is causing some irritation to the skin.
  • General increased fussiness
  • A temporary change in their diet just for a little while. They might prefer softer food, or they might actually prefer food which is more difficult to chew, to apply pressure to their gum

baby crying while teething

Myth #2 – Teeth Move Up and Down in The Gum

Once a baby’s tooth erupts, it doesn’t disappear back into the gum, despite the belief that new teeth move up and down when first emerging.

In this case, what parents are noticing is that the tooth has erupted. Then there is some localized swelling around that tooth, which makes it look like the tooth is disappearing. As that swelling resolves, the crown of the tooth becomes more apparent.

Myth #3 – Baby’s Teeth Arrive in a Random Order

Babies have 20 teeth that are resting below the gum line, and they generally appear in the same sequence.

You’ll generally see your baby’s teeth emerge in this order:

  • Central incisors
  • Lateral incisors
  • First molars
  • Canine teeth
  • Second molars

It  doesn’t matter if your baby’s teeth come out of order, but knowing the general sequence that a baby’s teeth will arrive means that if you suspect your little one is teething, you can check that spot to see if you can see any teething signs like that swelling of the gum or an eruption cyst.

Myth #4 – Teething Gels Are Safe

parent checking baby gums for teeth

Teething gels, or numbing gels, should never be used.

That is for three reasons:

  1. The very first reason is that generally they are ineffective.

Babies who are teething are dribbling a lot. Basically the medication in teething gels is either washed out of their mouth by the excess saliva, or they end up swallowing it.

This leads me onto the second reason it shouldn’t be used…

  1. If a baby is swallowing the numbing agent, it means that the back of their throat can potentially be numbed.

That can result in difficulties with swallowing.

  1. Lastly, the numbing agents in the teething gels like lidocaine and benzocaine has been linked to causing potential injuries in babies when they swallow too much. P

Parents often apply it frequently, which means the baby ends up swallowing a large amount. This has the potential to result in sickness and injuries. For example, lidocaine, which has often used in teething gels, can lead to a baby experiencing severe brain injuries, seizures, or a heart problem if they have swallowed too much of it.

Myth #5 – Teething Necklaces and Bracelets Work & Are Safe

baby wearing amber teething necklace

Unfortunately there are a lot of unsafe teething products out there. One of them is the teething necklace and/or bracelets. Supposedly when a child is wearing these, the beads themselves, or gnawing on the beads, provides the baby with some relief.

However there is currently no evidence to suggest that this is true.

In fact, teething necklaces and bracelets have actually been proven to cause hazards for babies in some situations. Specifically, they can pose a potential choking and a strangulation hazard.


By simply understanding these common teething myths and understanding what to do instead, you’ll be sure to have a much smoother, less painful teething experience with your bub.

And there may be other reasons why your baby is fussy or gets upset more often than usual. The witching hour is one example of when a baby might suddenly start getting fussy at certain times of the day that’s unrelated to teething.

It’s never a fun time, but hopefully after reading this post it becomes a little easier for your family.

Emma Hubbard

Emma Hubbard

Emma Hubbard is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist with over 12 years of clinical experience. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Newcastle. Emma is the founder of Brightest Beginning & writes about all things child development, sleep, feeding, toilet training and more.

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