To assess the association between primary tooth eruption and the manifestation of signs and symptoms of teething in infants.
An 8-month, longitudinal study was conducted with 47 noninstitutionalized infants (ie, receiving care at home) between 5 and 15 months of age in the city of Diamantina, Brazil. The nonrandomized convenience sample was based on the registry of infants in this age range provided by the Diamantina Secretary of Health. Eligible participants were infants with up to 7 erupted incisors and no history of chronic disease or disorders that could cause an increase in the signs and symptoms assessed in the study. Tympanic and axillary temperature readings and clinical oral examinations were performed daily. A daily interview with the mothers was conducted to investigate the occurrence of 13 signs and symptoms associated with teething presented by the infants in the previous 24 hours.
Teething was associated with a rise in tympanic temperature on the day of the eruption (P = .004) and with the occurrence of other signs and symptoms. Readings of maximal tympanic and axillary temperatures were 36.8°C and 36.6°C, respectively. The most frequent signs and symptoms associated with teething were irritability (median: 0.60; P < .001), increased salivation (median: 0.50; P < .001), runny nose (median: 0.50; P < .001), and loss of appetite (median: 0.50; P < .001).
Irritability, increased salivation, runny nose, loss of appetite, diarrhea, rash, and sleep disturbance were associated with primary tooth eruption. Results of this study support the concept that the occurrence of severe signs and symptoms, such as fever, could not be attributed to teething.