As a parent, safety is often the driving force behind every decision you make. And as your baby begins to grow their first teeth, this includes choosing the right teething products that will protect their teeth and gums.
Most babies start teething around the 6-month mark, and symptoms can start before your baby cuts their first tooth. As your little one starts seeking teething relief they’ll want to gnaw and bite to try and relieve the irritation in their gums.
Some of these teething symptoms might be:
● Refusing to eat
● Night waking
● Ear pulling
● Cheek rubbing
● Extra fussy
That’s a long list of painful problems for your baby! It’s a good idea to be prepared and have the right tools to keep your baby comfortable and safe with the right teething products.
But how early is too early to use baby products to dull terrible teething symptoms?
Here are the pros and cons of some of the most popular products on the market that you may be considering when your baby cuts their first teeth. We’ve added some safety tips and natural alternatives to help you make the most informed decision possible for your family.
A teething ring is a type of baby teething toy usually made of silicone. Silicon is a sturdy enough material to allow your baby a blissful chomp, without you worrying about a piece breaking off mid-bite.
Teething rings are also easy for tiny baby fists to grab, but big enough not to become a choking hazard.
Safety Tips for Teething Rings
When browsing the aisle or Amazon make sure to be on the lookout for products that are free of BPA. This goes beyond the label “Non-Toxic.”
Usually, this is noted in the more detailed product description. U.S. regulators have banned or restricted the use of plastics in some products children use because, at a certain level, they’re thought to cause hormone changes that might lead to health issues.
Additionally, always inspect your teething toy between chews; it does spend all day getting gnawed on, after all. A broken teether can become a choking hazard, but this can be avoided with careful inspection.
Our last safety tip for teething rings? Chill them in the fridge, not the freezer. A little blast of cool is great for babies, but when teething rings get frozen, they can damage gums and even affect how long the toy will last without breaking apart.
Teething cookies or teething biscuits are an edible food that dissolves on contact with your baby’s gums. They help to stimulate and soothe the sensitive area directly.
Safety Tips for Teething Cookies
Teething cookies shouldn’t be used on babies younger than 8 months. Supervise your baby every time they use a biscuit (or eat any solid food) to prevent the possibility of choking.
As your pediatric dentist, we don’t recommend teething cookies — they usually contain sugar, and can even increase baby’s risk for cavities down the line, according to the Canadian Pediatric Society.
Cloth Chew Toys
Cloth chew toys are similar to other toys your baby might have in their playroom, but these are designed specifically to provide teething relief.
Safety Tips for Cloth Chew Toys
Make sure the dyes used in these toys are all-natural vegetable dyes or metal-free. Heavy metal-like copper and chrome can cause health problems, so it’s always a good idea to read the ingredients before you buy.
Like with the teething rings, a quick inspection for frayed strings will go a long way in keeping choking hazards out of your baby’s mouth.
Mold can thrive in damp environments, and these cloth toys can be particularly susceptible. Make sure the toy you select is easy to clean so you can keep it disinfected!
Natural Teething Relief
There are also natural remedies beyond teething rings that can help relieve your baby’s teething pain.
Gently rub baby’s gums with a cool washcloth or clean finger. Just make sure to wash the cloth every time you use it. This keeps it sterile and helps to prevent bacteria from getting in your baby’s mouth that can be harmful to teeth.
If your baby has started eating solids, you can try feeding them cool soft foods like applesauce.
Fill your baby’s bottle with cool water instead of formula. The sucking motion will help to soothe baby’s pain, and by using water you won’t have to worry about overfeeding.
If nothing seems to be working, give your dentist a call or schedule an appointment with us. The teething experience isn’t one size fits all, and we’re here to help educate and provide teething comfort for your little one.
Tips for Cleaning Teething Products
Okay, so baby is teething, and you’ve finally chosen a product that’s right for your family. You’re ready to kick the teething symptoms to the curb, most importantly, the bad attitude baby has had these days.
Once your baby starts using teething products, it’s important to keep unwanted germs and bacteria away. While we’re all partial to the 5-second rule from time to time, the Mayo Clinic suggests cleaning any toy that goes into your baby’s mouth while they’re six months or younger because their immune system is weak.
Deep clean teethers by soaking them in hot water mixed with mild dish detergent for a few minutes. Then soak the product in a mixture of warm water and white vinegar for 15 minutes. Remember to rinse with cool water before giving it back to your baby.
How to Take Care of Your Baby’s New Teeth
Caring for your baby’s teeth is a new experience. While baby teeth aren’t here for a long time, it’s still important to brush them and take good care of them.
It’s a common myth that baby teeth don’t need special care since they’ll lose them and grow new adult teeth. But taking proper care of your baby’s first teeth ensures their permanent teeth and gums stay healthy for life!
You might be wondering, how do I set my child up for success regarding their dental health? Or, can baby teeth get cavities? And what about the occasional bleeding when I brush their teeth? Is that normal?
We’ll give you the facts about these topics and more because there’s no room for myths when it comes to your child’s health. Ready to tackle any dental challenge life throws your way?