Never give these to a teething child

Teething — the process of baby teeth coming through the gums — begins with most babies about six months after birth.  While teething pain caused by sore or tender gums can be relatively mild for some babies, others may experience discomfort. 

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. 

Teething necklaces and bracelets 

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. 

Numbing gels 

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.”

Teething tablets 

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 pain 

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 (not liquid), non-toxic teether to chew on.
  • Making tasty frozen teething pops from healthy ingredients. 

If your baby continues to show signs of discomfort or if you have questions about relieving teething symptoms, talk to your dentist or pediatrician.