There are many myths and misconceptions when it comes to teething. Teething is a part of everyone’s infant development, so it’s no surprise. But what can be surprising are the symptoms. For new parents especially, this stage of your baby’s development can be daunting. It’s natural to wonder how to help your teething baby, often because it disrupts the entire family’s sleeping schedule.
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For now, let’s take a look at what to give your teething baby.
What to Give a Teething Baby
Around six months of age, perhaps a little sooner, you can expect your baby to begin the teething process. It starts with their upper and lower incisors and slowly progresses in severity. As a parent, you have probably heard of the different toys, tools, medicines, and strategies you can use to help your child. But are they all safe and effective?
The good news is that you have a lot of options when it comes to soothing a teething baby. Depending on how much time and money you want to spend and what you value in your products, you can rest assured that there is a solution for every family.
The Best Tools and Strategies for Teething Babies
TreeHouse Dental Care has you covered for all your teething solutions. And when it’s time for your child’s first check-up, our pediatric dentists are here to help. If you’re looking for more information on how to care for your child’s teeth, check out this article on toothbrushes.
In the meantime, here are some safe options for your teething baby:
Toys For Your Teething Baby
Baby-safe teething toys can help soothe inflamed gums through pressure. There are many options a parent can choose from, but not all of them are ideal. Always make sure to check that your toys are infant-safe. For example, the Canadian Dental Association does not recommend teething cookies for your infant.
Choose toys that:
- are made of food-grade ingredients, like rubber
- cannot break
- are not filled with liquid
- a baby cannot bite into
If you’ve chosen to use a pacifier as a soother, you may find that it brings your child some comfort when they’re teething. This can be especially useful in between feedings. Pacifiers work the same way toys do, through pressure. But they also comfort children. If your child takes to pacifiers, make sure to have a clean one on hand when they’re teething.
There are many pros to breastfeeding. One of them is that breastfeeding can calm an anxious baby, or even relieve pain. Some parents use breast feeding to help their child sleep. This doesn’t mean that all babies respond in the same way, but if you’re already breastfeeding, pay attention to see if it calms your teething baby.
One of the best and most proactive solutions you can try is a massage. Using a clean finger or gentle, baby-safe rubber, rub your baby’s gums. If your baby doesn’t cry or pull away, try it for a few minutes. If this seems to have a positive effect, which it likely will, repeat this process when the baby fusses.
Before giving your child any medicine for teething, consult your pediatrician. When people follow directions carefully, approved medicines for babies can be very effective at treating the symptoms of teething. However, it is important to remember not to use a numbing agent directly on your child’s gums. These are especially dangerous to children when swallowed.
How to Soothe a Teething Baby at Night
Though you may be tempted to give your child something to help them throughout the night, it is not safe for an infant to have anything in their crib. Unsupervised infants have a higher risk of choking on toys.
Your best option is to try one of the above strategies before bed. Consult with your pediatrician about using a pacifier at night.
Unsafe Treatments for Teething Babies
Now that we’ve taken a look at what you can do for your baby’s teething, let’s look at some bad teething treatments. These are either unsafe or ineffective.
- teething necklaces
- amber beads
- topical treatments
- homeopathic remedies containing belladonna or caffeine
Necklaces Are Unsafe For a Teething Baby
A very commonly misused tool for teething are teething necklaces. While not the ideal tool for teething, many parents still choose to use them. If you are using a teething necklace, make sure to only allow it during your supervision. Necklaces and bracelets are both strangulation and choking hazards.
Amber Beads Need More Evidence
Advocates of alternative health treatments for teething will claim that because Baltic amber beads release succinic acid, a substance that has antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. However, a 2019 study demonstrated that the only beads to release this acid were the ones that fractured, making them choking hazards. It’s best to avoid these.
Topical Treatments are Dangerous for Teething Babies
Tooth and gum-numbing gels are very dangerous for infants under two years of age. They contain benzocaine, which is toxic to infants and toddlers. It can cause life-threatening health problems. Even worse, there’s little evidence that these topical treatments actually work. If you’re looking for pain relief for your teething baby, talk to your pediatrician about safe medicines for teething.
Takeaway: There Are Many Options for Teething Relief for a Baby
When doing your research on teething solutions, remember to keep it simple and keep it safe. When in doubt, reach out to your pediatrician, especially about medications. In general, physical pressure and massage are often the most reliable tools. Pacifiers and teething toys that are safe and infant-approved are also good ideas. If you’re breastfeeding, consider doing a night-time feed to help your baby relax.
At Treehouse Dental, we protect young smiles. Learn more about our pediatric dentistry services in the Greater Toronto Area and book a free virtual consultation to give your child a head start on a winning smile.