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Natural Remedies for Teething

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 11, 2021

When your baby is teething, they can feel a lot of pain and discomfort. They stay cranky and won’t sleep. The rest of the family can easily be exhausted from the baby waking up, and all you want is to safely reduce the pain.

You may be searching for more natural ways to address teething symptoms without giving your baby medication. What are your options?

What Is Teething?

Your baby may begin to show signs of teething as early as 3 months of age. Most babies will get their first tooth between 4 and 7 months. Teeth usually begin to appear in the bottom middle of the mouth, then the top middle, and then in the back of the mouth. Most children will have all of their primary teeth by 3 years.

As teeth push up through the gums, your baby may become irritable because of the pain and discomfort. You’ll notice they are very drooly and want to chew on things. This relieves the pressure of the teeth coming in.  

What Are Natural Remedies for Teething?

Cool Down. Anything cold will help to numb the pain for teething babies. Wet a washcloth, tie it in a knot, and freeze it for your baby to hold. You can also refrigerate their pacifier for relief as a natural remedy for the pain. Avoid gel-filled teething rings that you place in a freezer. These may be too hard for younger babies, and they may break or leak.

If your baby is beginning to eat solid food, put some frozen fruit in a mesh feeder for them to chew on. This will provide them with a sweet treat in addition to relief from their discomfort. Be sure to clean the mesh thoroughly between each use. 

Massage. Gently rubbing your baby’s gums may provide relief. Wash your hands first, and then offer them a finger or knuckle to chew on. Apply pressure and rub in a circular motion to see if they like it.

Silicone Teething Jewelry. You can purchase necklaces and bracelets made of silicone, rubber, or plastic that are designed for your baby to chew on. Remember that these pose choking and strangulation risks. Always supervise your baby when teething jewelry is in use. 

Amber Teething Jewelry. These teething necklaces are usually made up of tiny Baltic amber beads strung together and secured at the ends with a clasp. Advocates of this jewelry say that Baltic amber has a soothing analgesic effect on gums that are swollen and sore as teeth rupture the skin. 

Similar to silicone jewelry, your baby should always be supervised when they chew on amber teething jewelry.  If possible, choose a bracelet or anklet instead of a necklace to reduce the chances of choking.

Other Considerations for Teething Babies

Medicine. Teething discomfort can last for weeks, so medicine is not a viable solution for day-to-day discomfort. However, when your baby is in severe pain and can’t get relief, ask your doctor about providing a dose of acetaminophen. Be sure to follow the dosage instructions and talk to your pediatrician before administering any medication.

Numbing Gels. Avoid gels or creams that boast numbing capabilities and contain benzocaine. These may decrease the amount of oxygen in blood flow, a dangerous condition for infants. You may find alternatives that use a different ingredient for numbing. Talk to your pediatrician before using anything new.

Some additional tips for addressing your baby's teething pain include: 

  • Wipe your baby’s face and chin often to keep them from developing a rash from saliva.
  • Be aware of diaper rash since an increase in saliva production during teething may lead to more acidity in your baby’s urine and feces.
  • Clean teething toys regularly to reduce the chance of your baby getting sick from germs.
  • Teething biscuits and cold or frozen foods should only be offered to children who are already eating solid food. 

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Dignity Health: “5 Remedies to Ease the Pain of Teething Safely.”

FDA: “FDA warns about safety risks of teething necklaces, bracelets to relieve teething pain or to provide sensory stimulation.”

healthychildren.org: “Teething Necklaces and Beads: A Caution for Parents.”

KidsHealth: “Teething Tots.”

The Pediatric Center: “Safe and Effective Baby Teething Remedies.”

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