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Teething Products and Remedies

There are many ways to help your baby who is teething. You can help relieve discomfort by offering your baby safe objects to chew or suck on. Use caution with teething gels.

Teething rings, teethers, and toys specifically for teething

A wide variety of teethers and toys are made of nontoxic materials and are specially designed for teething babies. Teething rings come in many different sizes and shapes. Some are made of firm rubber (with or without bumps). Others are filled with water and made to be chilled in the refrigerator. Don't freeze these types of rings or teethers, because they become too hard and may harm your baby's gums.

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Clean teething rings, teethers, and toys after each use. Check the package label to see if the object is dishwasher-safe. Don't boil water-filled teethers, because they may break open.

Never tie an object such as a teething ring or pacifier around your baby's neck. The cord could tighten and choke the baby or, at the very least, irritate his or her skin.

Cold foods or liquids

Babies often resist feedings when they are teething. Sucking brings more blood to the gums, which increases sensitivity and swelling in the area. If your child is eating solids, try offering cold foods and fluids to help decrease the swelling and discomfort. For example, try feeding your child:

  • Frozen ice treats. These can temporarily relieve your baby's discomfort, although you will need to closely watch your baby and help him or her to place the cold treat where the tooth is erupting.
  • Hard, chewy frozen foods such as bagels and bananas. These types of foods can be given to babies older than 8 months. Give your child pieces of chewy foods that are small enough for him or her to swallow. But use care in the types of foods you provide, keep your baby sitting up, and closely supervise at all times. Do not give your child salty or spicy foods, because these may irritate the gums.
  • Very cold applesauce, pureed peaches, or yogurt.

You can also dip a clean washcloth in water, freeze it, and let your baby chew on it.

Over-the-counter products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend using pain relievers that you put on a baby?s gums, such as teething gels. These products usually contain benzocaine, or sometimes lidocaine, which can be harmful if used improperly. If these products are swallowed frequently, a baby's throat could become numb. This may cause difficulty swallowing. Also, benzocaine or lidocaine can be toxic if large concentrations build up in a baby's body. Some babies can get a rash from these products. And some have other types of reactions.

Do not use teething powder or aspirin on your baby's gums. Inhaling small particles of teething powder or aspirin can cause lung problems. Also, aspirin should not be given to anyone younger than 20, because it has been linked with Reye syndrome.

Do not give your baby any alcohol. Check medicine labels carefully. Avoid buying those that list alcohol as one of the first few ingredients. Alcoholic beverages, including fruit-flavored brandy or wine, can be harmful to your baby in any amount.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last Revised June 20, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 20, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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