Is it Teething Or An Ear Infection?

More than 80 percent of children will be diagnosed with an ear infection before their third birthday. 100 percent of children will teethe before their third birthday.

Sometimes, it can be hard to tell the difference between the two, because they share similar symptoms.

This quick guide can help you break down the differences.

Symptoms of Teething

  • Baby is at least 4 months old
  • Pulling at ears
  •  A white nub is visible under the gum
  • 2-3 nights of interrupted sleep (anything more than that is unrelated to teething)
  • Drooling

Symptoms of an Ear Infection

  • Pulling at ears
  • Fever
  • Runny nose or eyes
  • Baby seems uncomfortable laying down
  • 1-2 weeks of interrupted sleep (more if left untreated)
  • Baby has had a cold within the past few weeks


Where The Two Differ

  • Interrupted sleep- teething pain only interrupts sleep for 48-72 hours, which is the time it takes for the actual tooth to push its way through the gum line. If it’s more than that, you can suspect an ear infection. If the ears are clear, it’s probably poor sleep habits!
  • Runny nose – this usually applies only to an ear infection.
  • White nub along the gum line- that’s a sure sign of teething!
  • Fever- this is tricky. It’s generally not a good indicator either way, because both teething and ear infections can be accompanied by low-grade fever, but often aren’t.

It’s probably teething if there’s no runny nose, your baby is ok laying down and you see sore, red or bulging anywhere along your baby’s gums.

It might be an ear infection if your baby has runny nose or eyes, seems uncomfortable laying down and there are no teeth that seem to be coming in.

What’s interesting is that teething and ear infections don’t actually cause more night wakings!  What really happens is that the pain from makes it harder for your baby to fall back asleep once he’s woken up naturally. This should give you hope for the good nights – look how many times your baby put himself back to sleep when he’s not teething! He can do this!

For more on ear infections and sleep, have a look here.

By | 2019-12-17T14:36:39-04:00 December 17th, 2019|Categories: Sleep Troubles|0 Comments

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