Safe teething aids

You can help relieve discomfort related to teething by offering your baby safe objects to chew or suck.

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.

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:

  • Popsicles. These can numb and temporarily relieve your baby's discomfort, although you will need to closely watch your baby and help him or her to place the Popsicle 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. However, 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.

Last Updated: July 13, 2009

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