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The do’s and don’ts of teething treatments

When a baby’s first teeth come in, it can be a pain for the whole family. Incisors usually break through at around six months, leaving parents and infants in sore need of relief.

Although a number of popular treatments promise to soothe sensitive gums, not all methods are reliable, or even safe. Here’s an overview of the best — and worst — ideas.

Don’t try this at home

Proponents of amber teething necklaces claim that the stones release a pain-relieving substance that's absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin. However, closer scrutiny reveals no scientific evidence to back up those assertions – and the beads may even pose a choking hazard.

Another no-no is lidocaine. The topical anesthetic can be toxic to infants and young children, leading to seizures, brain damage or even death.

Tried-and-true methods

Rely on these proven strategies to give your child risk-free relief:

  • Massage the gums with your finger, after washing your hands.
  • Hold a cool spoon to the sensitive area.
  • Let your child chew on a cold washcloth under supervision.
  • Chill pacifiers in the fridge before use.
  • Give your child a teething ring to bite on.

And, finally, just wait. Your child’s last teeth should come in by age two or three, bringing teething troubles to a close.

Dentistry Decoded: Teething Troubles

Got a teething baby? Here’s what to do and what not to do.

Last updated May 10, 2022

The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.