Relieving Teething Pain
Teething — the process of baby teeth coming through the gums — begins with most babies about six months after birth1. While teething pain caused by sore or tender gums can be relatively mild for some babies, others may experience discomfort2.
A number of products promise to relieve teething pain, but some are ineffective or even downright dangerous. Here are some products to avoid, along with tips for safer ways to relieve teething pain.
Products to avoid:
Teething necklaces and bracelets3,4
Amber necklaces have grown in popularity in recent years due to claims that they help relieve teething pain. However, teething jewelry made from amber and other materials have caused death and serious injury to children due to strangulation and choking, in addition to mouth injuries and infections. As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants not wear or use any jewelry. Also, there is no scientific research or evidence to support claims of effectiveness in reducing pain and inflammation.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that you do not use products containing benzocaine for children younger than 2. The FDA warns of serious risks, including reduced oxygen through the blood stream, and says these gels provide “little to no benefits for treating oral pain.”
The FDA also warns parents not to use, and to dispose of, homeopathic teething tablets made from natural ingredients, due to the presence of toxic belladonna in some brands.
Safe ways to relieve teething pain7,8
You can help soothe a teething child by:
- Massaging their gums gently with a clean finger, small cool spoon, moist gauze pad or frozen washcloth.
- Offering a clean, solid (no liquid), non-toxic teether to chew on.
- Making tasty frozen teething pop from healthy ingredients (see recipe below).
If your baby continues to show signs of discomfort or if you have questions about relieving teething symptoms, talk to your dentist or pediatrician.
Kiwi-melon teething pops:
When your little one needs relief from teething, this frozen treat can do the trick. And, it’s super easy for sleep-deprived parents to make — just blend three healthy ingredients.
- 1 kiwi, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup honeydew melon
- 1 tablespoon water
Blend ingredients until smooth. Pour into ice pop molds and insert tops. Freeze for 2 to 3 hours. Run the base of the molds under warm water for 30 seconds to remove pops.