There is no scientifically proven causal connection between teething and diarrhea. Some events that happen during the teething period in a baby’s life can lead to diarrhea. These include a drop in immunity once boosted by being in the womb, an increased number of germs being introduced into the body due to items being put in the mouth, and increased drooling.
Babies receive strong immunity benefits when they are in their mother’s womb. By the time they are teething, most of this immunity has disappeared. Though this does not indicate a direct connection between teething and diarrhea, the two can happen over a similar period of time.
In order to relieve the pain of growing teeth, babies also tend to put more items in their mouth when teething. This introduces new and larger numbers of germs into their bodies. These can lead to illnesses which cause diarrhea.
Profuse drooling is a common symptom of teething. It is possible that the larger amount of saliva passing through the baby’s mouth could dilute nutrients and increase the amount of acid going into the stomach. These combined elements can hamper the effectiveness of digestive enzymes and the added liquid could speed the progress of feces through the intestines.
As teething and diarrhea are not directly connected, excessive watery stools should not be automatically dismissed as part of the process of cutting teeth. Even if the diarrhea seems to be related to teething, it is important to rule out other illnesses, such as a virus. If a baby has more than six to eight loose stools in a day, or is also vomiting, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.
When a baby experiences teething and diarrhea at the same time, digestive problems can usually be alleviated with proper diet. Foods such as applesauce, rice cereal, carrots, and blueberries do not irritate the gastrointestinal system. Small amounts of water can help to rehydrate the baby. Chamomile tea served in a bottle may also soothe the baby’s digestive system, though it should not be administered without first consulting a doctor. Fruits such as prunes, apricots, peaches, and pears and fruit juices should be avoided.
There are several symptoms which do more specifically indicate teething. These include an increase in irritability, profuse drooling, and a slight temperature. Teething babies may also experience bulging of the gums and more wakefulness during the night due to discomfort. Some babies will also bite more when teething.