Teething jewelry has become quite popular lately, but popularity does not equate to safety. The FDA recently released a formal News Release regarding the risks of teething necklaces. In this report, they describe how teething necklaces pose a choking hazard. They also explain how teething necklaces made from materials like amber may release harmful substances that are absorbed into the baby’s bloodstream. There have been several reports of infants suffering serious injuries or death after choking on beads from teething necklaces.
Teething can be miserable, both for babies and for their parents. However, teething necklaces are not a safe solution. The following are some safer ways to keep your baby comfortable during the teething process.
Cool Washcloths: A Safer Teething Jewelry Alternative
Another way to ease your baby’s teething discomfort is to keep a moist washcloth in the freezer. Rub the washcloth over your baby’s gums whenever he or she gets fussy. You can even let your baby chew on the washcloth a little bit. Rotate the cloth out with a fresh one once it starts to warm up.
Many baby stores sell mesh feeders that you can fill with your baby’s favorite foods — such as bananas, apples, and carrots — and place in the freezer. Once they are frozen, you can let your baby chew on them. The food will slowly work its way through the mesh, serving double-duty as a healthy snack and a soothing, cooling aid.
You’ve probably heard of the relaxing, soothing effects of chamomile. It can soothe pain topically, too. If you visit your local pharmacy, you may be able to find chamomile-based teething gels made specifically for babies. Applying a little bit of this teething gel each time your baby seems irritable can help keep teething more manageable.
Popsicles made with real fruit juice can also be soothing to a baby who is teething. You don’t have to let your baby eat the whole Popsicle. Just let him or her bite or suck on it for a few minutes at a time, as needed. Always rinse your baby’s mouth out with water and wipe his or her gums off after feeding a Popsicle and before putting him or her to bed. Putting your baby to sleep with sugary residue on the gums is not good for dental health, even if the teeth have not erupted yet.
You’ll find teething biscuits in the baby food aisle of most grocery stores. These hard biscuits slowly break down as your child chews on them, making them a safe and tasty alternative to teething jewelry. Make sure you choose a low-sugar variety for dental health. Zweiback bread, a European bread, is a good choice.
Use one or more of the methods above for safer pain management during teething. If you run into any trouble or have questions, reach out to your pediatric dentist.