Teething Babies

The Best Teethers for Molars

Teething Toys

Rattles, teething rings, key rings and other toys with rubber components can help ease teething pain by putting pressure on sore gums. Unfortunately, most teething toys are made for the front teeth only. The best teething toys for molars are ones that your baby can easily push to his molars to find relief. Of course, that also means that the best and safest teething toys are those that are attached to a larger toy or ring that could never be swallowed. You should also test toys for loose parts before you hand them over to your teething tot.

Food Relief

If toys don't seem to be doing the trick, the best teethers might be the ones you find in your fridge or freezer, especially for toddlers who love to snack. Bite-sized pieces of toast or bagel can help, suggests the "American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide," or you can offer soft pieces of cheese. You can also use a mesh feeder, which is a teething ring that features a mesh bag in which you can put ice cubes or frozen foods to help reduce pain.

DIY Teethers

You don't need to rush out and purchase teething toys to help reduce pain for your little one. You can make your own teethers with stuff you already have around your home. AskDrSears.com, for instance, suggests a frozen washcloth to help. Dip the corner of a wash cloth in water and then place it in a plastic sandwich bag. Put it in the freezer for 30 minutes, and then offer it to your little one. Since the cloth -- and the icy edge -- is still malleable, your baby can chew and mold the cloth into the shape that works best for molars.

Teethers to Avoid

Liquid-filled teethers are common on the market, but should be avoided, warns KidsHealth.org . Your baby could chomp on the teether so hard that it causes a leak and ingestion of the liquid inside. Never let your baby teethe on something that could be a choking hazard, particularly on the back molars, which could increase your little one's risk of choking.

How to Clean Teething Rings

Place the teething ring on the top shelf of your dishwasher if its packaging states that it's dishwasher safe. As long as the water of your hot water heater is set to 108 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, the water in the dishwasher should be hot enough to sanitize these types of baby items. You can check the temperature by running the hot water at your sink and using a candy or meat thermometer to measure it.

Wash the teething ring with warm water and dishwashing soap, similar to the way you wash dishes. Use a brush to remove any food or liquid residues. Rinse well under warm water. Dry on a clean towel or drying rack.

Boil the teething ring on a slow boil with the lid on for 10 minutes. Then, let it cool in the water before removing it to dry on a towel or drying rack. Only clean the ring in this manner if it does not have liquid in it. Otherwise, it can break during the boiling process.

Things You Will Need

  • Dish soap
  • Towel or drying rack
  • Pot

Tip

For babies older than 8 months, frozen bananas and bagels can help ease teething pain.

Warning

Do not tie the teething ring to your baby. It can pose as a choking hazard.

Soothing Ideas for Toddlers Who Are Teething

Cold Foods

Chomping on chilled foods can help soothe the aching associated with newly erupted teeth. Try foods that are firm but not rock-hard, such as peeled apples, sweet peppers and pieces of cucumber. Always watch your toddler and make sure the pieces of food you provide are small enough for her to chew safely. Just encourage her to suck or chew on the food and don't pressure her into actually eating it unless she wants to. Also, avoid starchy "teething snacks" like teething biscuits or teething cookies, which can contribute to dental decay, according to BestChance.gov.

Teething Toys

Chilled teething toys aren't just for infants. However, since your toddler now has an entire mouthful of sharp teeth, he's more likely to chew through or damage the gel-filled rings he enjoyed as an infant. Be sure to regularly inspect his teething toys so you can replace any that appear worn or slightly cracked before he chews through the plastic and ingests the liquid inside. Letting him chew on a clean, chilled wet washcloth can also alleviate discomfort.

Pain Relievers

Cutting teeth makes gums sore and sensitive, which can cause your otherwise cheerful toddler to become irritable. If teething rings and cold foods aren't helping, speak with your doctor about giving her children's acetaminophen or ibuprofen. While teething is often blamed for a fever, according to MayoClinic.com, if your tot has a fever, it means there's something else going on besides teething, which may require a doctor's advice.

Distraction

Depending on the severity of his discomfort, your teething toddler is likely to require some extra comforting attention. Extra cuddles are always good, but while you're waiting for the medicine to kick in, you may want to spend time snuggling with your tyke while reading storybooks or watching her favorite show as she noshes on a teething ring or a wedge of cold fruit.

Reasons for Late Teething

Hereditary

Teething issues can be as simple as "it runs in the family." It is a simple explanation, and is no cause for concern. Your child might be predisposed to it, and it can come from either side of the family. Check your family history; if either parent teethed late as a baby, then it has been handed down to their child.

Nutrition

In some instances, nutrition could be a reason for late teething. A diet lacking in vitamin A, C, D, phosphorus and calcium could result in a deficiency. While one of the symptoms of a poor diet is late teething, it is usually accompanied by other signs such as being underweight, having weaker limbs and not reaching developmental milestones.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid gland, might be the culprit of delayed teething. While some of the other justifications might be a bit harder to distinguish, hypothyroidism has several tell-tale signs. Aside from developmental problems such as delayed walking, delayed talking, being overweight and late teething, hypothyroidism can also have symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, headaches and stiffness in the joints.

Consult Your Peditrician

If your child has hit the 13-month-old mark and late teething doesn't run in the family, it is time to get with your pediatrician. She can help determine whether the teething problem stems from poor nutrition, hypothyroidism or some other cause.

How to Treat Teething Pain With Frozen Bananas

Peel the banana. Throw away or compost the peel and any loose strings that are hanging from the banana.

Cut the banana in half. Then chop the banana into 1-inch chunks. Place the banana chunks into an ice cube tray and place it in the freezer.

Wait for the banana chunks to freeze. This can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, depending on the temperature setting of your freezer.

Remove one of the banana chunks from the ice cube tray and place it in a reusable tea bag.

Give the frozen banana to your baby to chew on. The bag will keep the banana chunk contained so that your baby doesn't accidentally choke on it. Although the tea bag helps prevent accidental choking, always supervise your baby when she is using the frozen banana to alleviate tooth pain.

Things You Will Need

  • Banana
  • Knife
  • Ice cube tray
  • Reusable tea bag

Tip

Frozen bagels also make great natural teething rings.

Warning

WebMD warns against the use of baby teething gels, as they are not recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Gels can numb a baby's throat, making swallowing difficult. Repeated doses of the ingredients within the teething gel can be toxic to babies.

How to Ease Teething Pain

Rub your baby's gums with a clean fingertip or a damp gauze pad. The pressure can ease the pain.

Give your baby something cold to chew on. Use a refrigerated teething toy, pacifier or a wet washcloth that you've put in the freezer for an hour. For babies who prefer room-temperature chewing toys, try common objects from around the house, such as wooden blocks, spoons or basic baby toys.

Give your child a food to chew on, if you've already introduced solid foods. This can help with teething pain, according to Mayo Clinic. A chilled bagel works well for most babies, but, if your baby refuses cold foods, try one at room temperature instead.

Dry up any drool often to prevent the additional pain of skin irritation. Leaving drool sitting on your baby's lips or chin can lead to red, chapped skin, which only makes the teething process worse.

Ask your doctor about giving your child either an over-the-counter topical anesthetic or an infant painkiller. Rub a small amount of topical anesthetic meant for teething babies on your baby's gums, or give your baby an appropriate dose of acetaminophen (older than 3 months) or ibuprofen (older than 6 months), as your doctor recommends.

Talk to your doctor about trying a natural remedy for teething pain. Natural options may include amber teething necklaces or homeopathic teething tablets.

Things You Will Need

  • Gauze pad
  • Washcloth
  • Teething toys
  • Bagel
  • Cloth diaper
  • Infant Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen

Tip

If your baby refuses to take medicine, try holding a plastic tube syringe in the corner of her mouth and squirting the medicine in slowly. You can also try giving your baby a pacifier and slipping the syringe in between pacifier sucks.

Warning

Do not try a natural or homeopathic remedy without clearing it with your pediatrician or other health care practitioner. Do not offer your child a frozen teething toy. The extreme cold can harm his gums. According to the National Reye's Syndrome Foundation, you should never give aspirin to your baby or anyone under the age of 19. Do not offer your child foods or objects that could be choking hazards.

How to Handle Nighttime Teething

Watch your child for signs of teething during the day so you can take preemptive steps to minimize teething pain at night. Indications that a child is in the process of getting new teeth include drooling, fussiness, gnawing on fingers and toys and red, swollen gums, advises pediatrician and author William Sears, with the Ask Dr. Sears website.

Administer a pain reliever to your child before you put her to bed in the evening. Both ibuprofen or acetaminophen are appropriate as long as given in the correct dosage for your child’s age and weight; however, you should wait until your infant is at least 6 months old before administering ibuprofen.

Check the clock if your baby wakes up again later in the night to determine whether you can provide more pain reliever. If you can administer more pain reliever because the first dose has worn off, give your child more medicine. If your child wakes before you can administer more medicine, you must wait to give more pain reliever.

Rock or hold your child to comfort him while the pain reliever takes effect or while you are waiting to administer more, advises sleep trainer Nicole Johnson, with the Baby Sleep Site. Once your child calms -- either because the medicine took effect or because you were able to give more medicine -- tuck him back into bed to sleep again.

Wash your hands and gently massage your child’s gums with your clean finger to apply some pressure to the sore gums, advises the Food and Drug Administration website.

Offer your child a chilled teething ring to soothe teething pain.

Things You Will Need

  • Children’s pain reliever
  • Chilled teething ring

Tip

The roughest nights with an erupting tooth should be during the period when the tooth actually pushes through the gums. Erupting may take between two and four days, states Johnson. If your baby has nighttime sleep disruptions that last longer than this time period, teething may not be the culprit and you may need to investigate the reason for your child's waking.

Warning

Do not administer gel or liquid analgesics for teething pain to children under 2 years of age. The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about possible serious side-effects from the use of over-the-counter gels and liquids for oral pain that contain benzocaine.

Can Teething Cause Sleeping Problems?

Teething Symptoms

The Medline Plus website indicates that sleeping problems are a symptom of teething, along with irritability and frequent drooling. In addition to having difficulty getting comfortable enough to fall asleep, your baby’s sleeping patterns might be completely disrupted due to increased wakings at night. This is due to your baby experiencing pain or often needing to suck on something to help relieve the discomfort.

Relief

You can help soothe your baby’s teething pain by rubbing and massaging his gums. HealthyChildren.org also recommends offering a rubber teething ring and talking to your baby’s doctor first before using pain reliever medications. You can help your baby fall asleep easier by making bedtime as comfortable as possible, despite the teething pain. Follow a soothing bedtime routine that relaxes your baby and signals that it’s time to sleep, like giving him a bath and reading him a story.

Warning

Although giving your baby a bottle might help to keep her calm, child development experts at the Kids Health website warn against putting your baby to bed with a bottle. Over time, the milk or juice that pools in her mouth as she falls asleep can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Try offering a pacifier instead, or a bottle filled with water if her doctor thinks it will help.

Recommendations

While a low-grade temperature could be a sign of teething, any temperature higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit could be a sign of illness. Additionally, some babies go through the teething process with no apparent symptoms, so if your baby has problems sleeping or a fever but no other teething signs, talk to her doctor about what else could be causing her symptoms.

Are Baby Teething Necklaces Safe for Infants?

Teething Troubles

Typically, babies start teething between 4 and 7 months, and teething troubles can continue until most of the teeth are in. There is no set order for babies to cut their teeth, but most cut their top and bottom front teeth first. If the first tooth has not erupted by 7 months, this does not mean that something is wrong. The time at which the first tooth appears is often determined by genetics and can be much later in the first year or beyond. When babies are teething, their gums may be swollen or tender, they may run a low-grade fever and you may notice a bit more irritability than usual.

Benefits

Because some babies experience more discomfort than others when it comes to teething, some parents turn to nontraditional methods to soothe the pain, such as amber teething necklaces. These necklaces are made of small amber stones. Supporters claim that wearing the stones against the skin releases soothing oils, which are then absorbed by the wearer, according to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's product safety website. Some parents claim that these necklaces have helped relieve their children’s teething pain.

Hazards

Teething necklaces, amber or otherwise, have a couple of potential hazards. The two main hazards are choking and strangulation. A necklace could break and scatter beads, which a child could choke on, or a child could strangle himself with a necklace if it became wrapped too tightly around his neck. These are both serious and potentially dangerous risks associated with teething necklaces, and you must take them into consideration if you are thinking about using these products.

Safer Alternatives

If you are desperate to relieve your child’s teething pain, there are many safe products that you can use. Your baby might like to chew on a cold, wet washcloth or teething ring. Be sure to wipe your baby’s mouth often to keep his face clean and comfortable. If your child is eating solid foods, feeding him chilled yogurt or applesauce may soothe his gums. If none of these things help, ask your doctor about pain relievers or other remedies that might be appropriate for your little one.