baby ear infection vs teething

As parents, you’ll most likely learn about ear infections and learn about teething. How to identify baby ear infection vs teething? They both have similar symptoms. How are they differentiated? Can an ear infection harm their oral health as well? Can ear infections be caused by teething? We have enlightening responses to these worthwhile queries down below.

Can Teething Look Like An Ear Infection?

Baby ear infections and teething are frequently confused.

You might assume that when your toddler starts pulling on his ears, it’s a surefire sign that he or she has an ear infection. But if he’s cutting teeth, he might behave similarly because the middle ear is served by nerves that originate in the back teeth, which can make pain seem to originate from the ear.

According to Dr., it is more likely that he has an ear infection if he has a fever and appears to be most uncomfortable when lying down. Red, swollen gums are a sign of teething, says Dempsey. He might push food away, have trouble falling asleep, or cry more than usual. In general, the symptoms of ear infections could also describe a number of illnesses or a child who is simply having a bad day.

However, it makes sense to have your pediatrician look into the situation if your gut tells you that something is wrong, particularly if your child has a fever.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Teething and An Ear Infection?

Symptoms that would suggest your baby is teething include:

  • A low fever (below 38 °C
  • Swollen, red gums
  • Excessive drooling
  • Sore or tender gums
  • Wanting to chew on hard things

On the other hand, if an ear infection is to blame, your child may have the following symptoms:

  • A fever of up to 40 °C (50% of children will have a fever with their ear infection)
  • Cold symptoms—ear infections are almost always preceded by a cold
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Complaining of ear pain or hearing loss
  • Not reacting to auditory cues
  • Loss of balance (if applicable, depending on age)

What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Baby is Teething?

Teething is a natural process that all babies go through, so while there are no specific ‘treatments’, there are some things you can do to make your baby feel more comfortable during the process:

  • Rub your baby’s gums: Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger or a moist piece of gauze. Uncomfortable feelings may be reduced by pressure.
  • Keep their gums cool: Provide a chilled (not frozen) teething ring to your child for sucking. Their gums may find relief from the cool temperature.
  • Try an over-the-counter remedy: Consider giving your baby an infant pain reliever prescribed by your pharmacist if they seem especially fussy or uncomfortable.

What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Baby Has An Ear Infection?

First things first: it’s best to keep their ears dry, and you definitely should not try to clean them with a cotton bud, even if there’s visible fluid.

Ibuprofen or children’s acetaminophen in age-appropriate doses can be used to treat fevers at home. Make sure they are well-hydrated and give them some time to rest.

However, it is always best to have your child see a doctor about an ear infection if they have been ill for longer than two days and aren’t getting better on their own.

They’re likely to give you antibiotic prescriptions. Additionally, they will be able to provide you with additional guidance on how to effectively treat the pain and fever your child is experiencing.

Can Babies Get Ear Infections from Teething?

Although teething pain and ear pain are linked, teething doesn’t cause ear infections.

Actually, the common cold is what is most likely to lead to an ear infection. And the likelihood is that your baby will experience that more than a few times before all of their teeth erupt.

If Your Child Has Chronic Ear Infections, See a Specialist

A child is typically referred to an otolaryngologist (ENT) by a pediatrician when he has experienced three infections in the preceding six months or four infections in the preceding 12 months, but this is not a rule.

“Kids who have frequent infections spend a lot of time feeling ill, and if fluid in their ears doesn’t clear between infections it can interfere with hearing and language development,” says the Head of otology at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital Nancy Young, M.D.

The insertion of a tympanostomy tube (typically in both ears) to lower the risk of infections and enhance hearing will be discussed when an ENT examines your child. Children typically receive tubes between the ages of 1 and 3, though there is no maximum or minimum age.

It is the most frequently performed aesthetic surgery on children, involving about 500,000 children annually. A tiny hole is made in the eardrum by the surgeon, who then suctions out the fluid before sealing it with a cylinder the size of a baby’s pinkie nail. When the tubes are in, you won’t be able to see them, but they will be allowing air into the middle ear and fluid to drain out.

“Ear tubes don’t improve the eustachian-tube function,” says Dr. Max M. April the chairman of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s pediatric committee. “The child’s eustachian tubes are expected to grow sufficiently so that his ear issues will disappear once the tubes come out on their own after about a year.” In a Kaiser Permanente Medical Center study conducted in Oakland, California, it was discovered that 90% of parents said their child’s ear issues and general quality of life had improved a year after receiving a tympanic tube.


Even though ear infections and teething are unrelated, neither is underestimated. Both require an accurate diagnosis and prompt, considerate care from parents. Contact your pediatrician or dentist if you have any inquiries. The smiles on your child are worth it.