Natural Teething Remedies
At Prescott Dentistry, we care about you and your entire family—including the tiniest members whose teeth are just coming in. Watching your baby go through the pain of teething is hard, and you probably feel helpless at times—but the good news is there are ways to soothe teething pain at home. While our dental office primarily offers dental services for adults, we recognize that many of our patients have young children at home. Here are some natural teething remedies to soothe your baby’s discomfort and your anxiety:
We’ve all used ice packs when we have an injury—this is because cold soothes pain and reduces inflammation. Just be sure to avoid freezing teething toys as this can cause damage and irritation to your baby’s gums. Pressure from chewing or rubbing soothes sore and inflamed gums. It can also distract your baby from the pain they are experiencing.
- Chilled pacifier or metal spoon. Put these items in the refrigerator before giving them to your baby.
- Frozen washcloth. Wet the washcloth, wring it out and then put it in the freezer for at least an hour, for entertainment and pain relief!
- Frozen fruit/veggies. Put these foods in a mesh or silicone teether for small babies and freeze for at least an hour. For older babies, pop a banana in the freezer for an hour for a delicious, pain-relieving snack. Refrigerated carrots or cucumbers are also great for older babies. Be sure to supervise your baby at all times while eating.
- Rub your baby’s gums. Or let him/her chew on your fingers. Just be sure to wash your hands first!
- Frozen breast milk. Pour your breast milk into an ice cube tray and freeze for babies 4 to 6 months old. For babies older than 6 months, you can also blend some fruit or vegetables into the breastmilk for additional nutrition and flavor. Put the ice cubes in a mesh or silicone feeder.
- Teething toys. Look for silicone, as opposed to latex or plastic. If silicone doesn’t work, try a wooden teether. Just be sure to choose a brand that uses natural water-based sealants or food-grade dyes. Read the instructions as some teethers need to be oiled or waxed before use. You can refrigerate these toys to offer even more relief.
- Teething biscuits. Look for organic ones and keep them in the fridge.
- Amber teething necklaces. While there isn’t scientific evidence to back this remedy up, many parents swear by them. The idea behind amber necklaces is that your baby’s body heat triggers the amber to release an oil that contains succinic acid, which has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Look for real amber as there are a lot of fake necklaces on the market. These necklaces can be a choking hazard so if you are using this remedy, be sure to supervise your baby at all times while wearing it, ensuring that it doesn’t get caught on anything and that your baby doesn’t put the beads in their mouth. Never put your baby to sleep while wearing the necklace.
- Necklaces for Mom or Dad. Wear a silicone teething necklace around your neck for your baby to chew on or play with while you’re holding them.
3. Lower Inflammation and Stress
Teething causes painful inflammation of the gums. Lower your baby’s inflammation with an anti-inflammatory diet. If your baby is eating solids, white foods, such as refined sugar and flour, potatoes, and even dairy, can cause inflammation. Focus on whole foods such as a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, organic meats, wild-caught seafood, and healthy fats like coconut, avocado, butter, and eggs. These foods, as opposed to refined carbohydrate snacks, will also help balance blood sugar levels, as blood sugar swings can also lead to inflammation. Stress is another source of inflammation, so make sure your baby is getting enough rest and play time.
4. Herbal Remedies
Be sure to use these remedies under the supervision of your pediatrician or naturopath.
- Camomile. This herbal teething remedy can be made into a tea and given to your baby in his/her bottle, or you can make an infusion with olive oil and rub it directly onto your baby’s gums.
- Clove. This has been shown to be as effective as benzocaine (see below for information about benzocaine). It can also be used as a tea or infusion.
Avoid These Medications
- Benzocaine. Avoid teething medications that contain the pain reliever benzocaine. This ingredient can cause methemoglobinemia—a rare but serious condition that lowers the levels of oxygen in the blood.
- Lidocaine. This topical anesthetic can be toxic to infants and young children—it can cause seizures, brain damage and even death.
Holistic Dental Office in Prescott
With these natural teething remedies and a bit of patience, your baby’s teething discomfort will soon be behind you. And before you know it, they’ll be smiling with a full set of baby teeth! Check out our blog post from last February for tips on caring for your infant’s teeth.