What Is a Teething Rash?

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A teething rash is a skin irritation that develops when a baby or young child drools, letting saliva dribble onto their face. Excess saliva is a common symptom of teething, which can lead to tiny, red, raised bumps on the chin or cheek.

Most babies begin teething (when baby teeth grow through the gums) between 6 and 8 months old. All baby teeth should be in place by the time a child is 30 months old.

When new teeth break through the gums, the extra saliva softens a baby’s food, makes swallowing easier, and protects the new teeth from bacteria. However, when saliva touches the skin constantly in the form of drooling, it can be irritating and lead to a rash.

This article discusses the symptoms, causes, and treatment of teething rashes.

A teething infant with his hands in his mouth

Karl Tapales / Getty Images

Types of Rashes 

Babies and young children commonly experience rashes and minor skin irritations. Knowing what is causing your child’s symptoms can be challenging. Common causes of a rash or sores on or around a baby’s face include:

  • Eczema: Patches of dry, itchy, red skin 
  • Acne: Tiny white or pink bumps on the skin that do not itch 
  • Thrush: White patches on the tongue or inner cheeks
  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease: Painful mouth sores
  • Hives: Itchy pink or red bumps that signal an allergic reaction

What Are the Symptoms of Teething Rash?

A teething rash produces tiny, red bumps slightly raised off the skin. It is usually located on an area of the face where your baby drools. Look for a teething rash on your baby’s chin, cheeks, or neck.

In addition to a mild rash, other common symptoms of teething include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Fussiness or irritability
  • Refusal to eat 
  • Sleeplessness 
  • Biting 

Teething does not cause fevers, diarrhea, a runny nose, or inconsolable crying. If your child is experiencing these symptoms, call a healthcare provider.

Causes of Teething Rash

A teething rash occurs when saliva is in constant contact with the skin. While saliva is important to oral health, it can cause irritation to a child’s skin. That is because saliva often contains bits of food that sit on the skin’s surface.

It also contains ptyalin, a digestive enzyme that helps with digestion and protects the teeth against decay. Ptyalin is known to irritate the skin and cause a red rash. 

How Is a Teething Rash Diagnosed?

Most babies and children with teething rashes do not need medical care and can be treated at home. Your child likely has a teething rash if it appears on an area of the face covered in excess saliva. Signs that your baby is teething include excessive drooling, swollen gums, irritability, trouble eating or sleeping, and a need to bite down on hard surfaces. 

Call your child's healthcare provider if you are unsure if your baby is experiencing a teething rash. They will help you determine if your child needs to be seen and what may be causing the rash. 

If your child seems to be having trouble swallowing or breathing, seek emergency medical care immediately.

How Is a Teething Rash Treated?

Most teething rashes are mild and can be treated at home. Prevention is the best way to treat a teething rash. When your child is teething, try to wipe away excess drool from their face as often as possible. Use a soft cloth to pat the area dry gently. This will prevent skin irritation and redness.

To soothe a teething rash, consider the following topical treatments:

  • Barrier cream: Use Aquaphor or petroleum jelly to form a barrier between the skin and saliva.
  • Lanolin cream: Lanolin is soothing to the skin and can promote healing.
  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil also helps to form a barrier and has both antimicrobial and antifungal properties to prevent infection.
  • Baby wash: Use a gentle, fragrance-free baby wash to keep your little one’s skin clean.


Teething rashes are a common part of getting teeth, and most babies experience one at some time or another. The rash usually resolves on its own once your child starts drooling less. 

See a healthcare provider if the rash becomes red, cracked, or painful. Any signs of infection, like pus or a fever, should also be reported to your provider. 


Teething is an uncomfortable experience for babies. Remembering that a teething rash is usually not itchy or painful is helpful. 

To help your child cope with teething, provide cold comfort items to soothe their gums, including:

  • Cool, firm teething ring to chew on
  • Cool, wet washcloth to soothe the gums
  • Cool, soft foods like yogurt or applesauce (if your child can eat solid foods)


A teething rash occurs when excess drool causes a red rash on a baby or young child’s face. Teething is when a child’s teeth break through the gums, which can lead to excessive saliva. When this saliva comes out as drool, it can irritate the skin. A teething rash resembles a patch of tiny, red, raised bumps. It usually occurs on the chin, cheeks, or neck. 

Other common teething symptoms include swollen gums, fussiness, trouble eating or sleeping, and an urge to bite down. If your child is experiencing excess drool with difficulty swallowing or breathing, seek emergency medical care. A teething rash is usually treated at home with barrier creams. To prevent a teething rash, gently remove excess saliva from your child’s face as often as possible.

11 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. MedlinePlus. Teething.

  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. Baby birthmarks & rashes.

  4. American Academy of Pediatrics. Thrush and other Candida infections.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms and diagnosis of hand, foot, and mouth disease.

  6. MedlinePlus. Teething symptoms.

  7. Seattle Children’s Hospital. Teething.

  8. American Academy of Pediatrics. Drooling and your baby.

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  10. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Safely soothing teething pain and sensory needs in babies and older children.

  11. Deen A, Visvanathan R, Wickramarachchi D, et al. Chemical composition and health benefits of coconut oil: an overview. J Sci Food Agric. 2021;101(6):2182-2193. doi:10.1002/jsfa.10870

By Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH
Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH, is a health writer with over a decade of experience working as a registered nurse. She has practiced in a variety of settings including pediatrics, oncology, chronic pain, and public health.