Q&A: Is rubbing the ears and cheeks a sign of teething?
Is rubbing the ears and cheeks a sign of teething?
While there are certainly many reasons why babies and toddlers might rub their ears and cheeks—including for no specific reason at all other than just because they can—these are certainly behaviors parents tend to associate with teething. Tugging or rubbing ears also commonly leads parents to question the presence of an ear infection. While neither behavior represents a clear cut sign of teething or ear infection, we do know that ears, sinuses, and the mouth all share nerve pathways. This means that pain in a tooth or sinus can feel like ear pain (or vice versa). The bottom line is that a simple ear tug or cheek rub isn’t usually anything to worry about in the absence of any other symptoms. If, however, a child is in distress and these behaviors happen to accompany fever and/or other symptoms associated with teething or ear infections, then it’s worth mentioning your observations to your pediatrician as he/she assesses your child so that he/she can better help determine what is needed to help make your child feel better.