Teething is a normal developmental process that most infants experience within their first year of life. Some toys and home remedies, such as cold teething toys and damp washcloths, can relieve pain and discomfort.
Teething happens when an infant’s primary teeth, or baby teeth, poke through their gums. Sometimes, they experience pain that causes them to cry, drool, or have trouble sleeping. Others show no signs of teething at all.
Teething is not a medical problem, but it can disrupt a family’s routine and sleep.
However, a combination of chew toys and gum massage can help. When these do not relieve symptoms, doctors
Read more to learn about what to give teething infants, what to avoid, and how to care for their new teeth.
Some safe options for teething babies include:
Parents or guardians should choose toys that:
- are made of food-grade, infant-safe ingredients such as rubber
- are designed to be teething toys
- are not jewelry, made of beads, or can break apart
- an infant cannot bite into
- are not filled with liquid
- do not have removable parts
Infants who take pacifiers may find that sucking on one eases their pain, especially between feedings.
If an infant seems to respond well to pacifiers, ensure they always have access to a clean one. Avoid giving them a pacifier that has biting damage.
It is safe to continue breastfeeding during and after teething. In fact, the
Breastfeeding can calm an anxious baby. It can relieve pain, and some parents use it to help babies fall asleep.
For example, a 2016 study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews investigated how effective this was in infants under one year old. Compared with a placebo, expressed milk, formula, and skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding offered better pain relief during vaccinations.
While this does not mean all infants will find pain relief from breastfeeding, it does indicate that it is one of the more effective methods.
Placing firm pressure on the gums may help ease inflammation. Make sure the fingers are clean, then try rubbing the baby’s gums. If the baby does not cry or reject the finger, continue massaging for several minutes. Repeat when the baby becomes fussy again.
A clean, moist, cold washcloth can be a safe teething toy. Before giving it to an infant, ensure it does not have lint or other debris they could swallow.
Try thoroughly washing, wetting with clean water, then refrigerating or freezing the washcloth. It may work better tied in a knot, but do not use rubber bands or other choking hazards to secure it.
If home remedies and teething toys do not help, parents or guardians may want to contact a doctor about medication. When people use them according to the directions, at the right dose, and over a short period, acetaminophen and ibuprofen are
Ibuprofen labeling usually advises consulting a doctor when giving the medication to infants younger than six months.
Parents or guardians may want to consider using acetaminophen for infants younger than six months.
It is not safe for infants to sleep with anything in their crib. Additionally, unsupervised infants have a higher risk of choking on toys, so a parent or guardian should not give them teething toys in their crib at night.
Instead, try giving them a teething medication if they are having trouble sleeping. Breastfeeding parents can also try nursing the baby to sleep or nursing more frequently than usual.
It is also safe for a baby to sleep with a pacifier as long as it is in good condition.
Many popular teething treatments or toys, such as teething necklaces, are not safe for infants. Parents and guardians should avoid:
Parents who still decide to give children teething necklaces should only do so under close supervision. They should never allow them to wear or play with them alone.
Baltic amber beads
Many alternative health advocates claim that Baltic amber beads release succinic acid, a natural acid that people sometimes use as an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory.
However, there is no evidence proving that these beads can actually relieve teething pain.
This means that neither Baltic amber beads nor the succinic acid they release can help with teething.
Tooth-numbing gels are
There is also no evidence these topical treatments work, despite their apparent risks.
Parents often turn to homeopathic remedies because they believe standard treatments pose more risks. But in the case of teething, homeopathic remedies can be
Many contain belladonna, a highly toxic substance. The amount of belladonna in the products is not consistent and not regulated, making any product risky.
Some also contain caffeine, which can be harmful to infants.
To reduce the risk of oral health problems, a parent or guardian can:
- limit their infant’s sugar consumption
- avoid giving infants a bottle in the crib
- visit a dentist when the first tooth erupts, and no later than one year old
- wipe off or brush teeth twice a day
Teething is a normal part of a child’s development. However, it can be extremely stressful, especially if an infant has sleep issues.
A parent or guardian can use safe teething toys, gum massage, breastfeeding, and other home remedies to relieve teething pain. They should avoid unsafe options such as amber beads and belladonna drops.