Teething is a tough time for babies and parents. It’s hard to watch your little one struggle through the discomfort of cutting their first teeth, and naturally you’ll want to do everything you can to help them through.
When everyone from celebrities to relatives is offering their opinion on the best teething remedies, how do you know which ones are safe and which ones to avoid? We’ve rounded up the safest, most effective natural teething remedies to help your baby find relief.
First, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) suggests simply trying to distract your baby from teething pain. Lots of cuddles, affection and extra attention can sometimes take their mind away from the discomfort, as can their favourite toy or blanket.
Baby’s gums are likely to be sore, inflamed and swollen during teething. Better Health recommends relieving tender gums by massaging them with a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth.
Teething Rings And Toys
You might notice your baby trying to chomp down on everything in sight during teething! That’s because gentle pressure on the gums can ease the discomfort of a cutting tooth.
Offer your baby a cool teething toy or ring to bite down on. The ADA says the combination of pressure, coolness and distraction can be a great help for sore gums. However, they warn against putting teething rings in the freezer as anything too hard or too cold can risk making gum pain worse.
Teething Remedies to Avoid
Teething gels containing lidocaine and benzocaine are not recommended for use in children under two years of age. These numbing agents can make it difficult for your baby to swallow and have been linked to rare but serious health conditions in infants.
Another risky remedy is amber teething necklaces. A favourite of celebrities, these amber beads are said to release pain-relieving chemicals through baby’s skin to alleviate teething discomfort. Western Australia’s government consumer protection website explains that there’s no evidence to support these claims, and also warns that amber necklaces present strangling and choking hazards to babies.
Finally, a dab of jam or honey on the baby’s dummy is an old favourite, but the ADA warns that this can cause tooth decay. For babies who are already eating solids, try a chilled carrot, cucumber or sugar-free rusk instead.
Thankfully, teething pain passes fairly quickly. However, if your baby doesn’t seem to be finding relief from safe, natural methods, or you’re worried that their symptoms may be a sign of a more serious problem, speak to your doctor or dentist for professional advice.