Teething remedies: How to treat teething pain

Teething remedies: How to treat teething pain

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Learn about common remedies to relieve tender, puffy gums and other teething symptoms.


In the same way ice works on a sprained ankle to numb pain and reduce swelling, cold compresses and other items soothe sore gums.

Put a wet washcloth in a clean plastic bag and chill it in the refrigerator. (For an extra soothing touch, first soak it in chamomile tea, which has been shown to calm fussy babies and help them sleep.) When you remove the washcloth from the bag, your child will enjoy munching on it because the fabric massages the ridges in her gums while the cold numbs the pain.

Try a refrigerated pacifier or teether. (Never store the teether in the freezer because it can get hard enough to damage a baby's gums.)

There are a variety of refrigerated teethers available, including some with plastic handles so your baby's hands won't get cold. Liquid-filled teethers work well, but watch for leaks. Firm rubber teething rings are a good alternative. Whichever kind you choose, keep an eye on your baby to make sure she doesn't choke as she gnaws on it.

If your baby has started solids, offer her chilled (not frozen) fruit in a mesh bag specially designed for that purpose. Or give her a large carrot (not a baby carrot, which is a choking hazard). Hold one end while your baby chews on the other, keeping watch over her the whole time.


Teething babies love to feel pressure on their gums because it distracts their brain from the sensation of teething pain.

If your baby rejects cold items, chewing on a teether at room temperature may do the trick. Some teethers even vibrate. If one type doesn't work for your child, just try another kind until you find one that helps.

Hard, unsweetened teething crackers can also provide relief. Or give this strategy a go: Gently rub your baby's gums with a clean pinky finger.


If nothing is working and your baby needs relief, your doctor might recommend trying an over-the-counter painkiller like acetaminophen. (Note: Don't give new medicines to a baby without first checking with a doctor. Ask the doctor for the proper dosage whenever giving acetaminophen to a child younger than 2.)

For babies at least 6 months old, ibuprofen is another option for reducing inflammation in your baby's gums. But bear in mind that the drug can irritate the stomach, which may be problematic if your baby's already refusing to eat (which some teething babies do).

Aspirin is off-limits for anyone younger than 19 years old. Don't give it to your baby or even rub it on her gums. The drug is associated with Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition.

Fever, vomiting, and diarrhea aren't normal symptoms of teething. If your baby has a persistent fever, gets worse, or seems sick, call the doctor.

An important note about topical medications and homeopathic remedies

Numbing gels or creams that you rub on your baby's gums to relieve teething pain are available over the counter in drugstores. However, in May 2018 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers that topical medications containing benzocaine shouldn't be used on children younger than 2.

Benzocaine gels and other products for mouth and gum pain can lead to methemoglobinemia, a serious and sometimes fatal condition involving red blood cells. Signs and symptoms include pale, gray-, or blue-colored skin, lips, and nail beds; shortness of breath; fatigue; and rapid heart rate. If your child experiences any of these symptoms after using a benzocaine teething product, get medical help right away.

The agency also reiterated previous warnings about homeopathic teething tablets and gels. In September 2016, the FDA warned consumers that the products may pose a risk to babies and children, and in January 2017 followed up with a warning about certain products. The agency noted that it was not aware of any proven health benefits of the products.

The FDA tested homeopathic product samples and investigated reports of adverse events, including seizures, difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, constipation, skin flushing, agitation, difficulty urinating, excessive sleepiness, and lethargy. If your child experiences any of these symptoms after using a homeopathic teething product, get medical help right away.

Where to go next

Read about other parents' top teething solutions

Get answers to your teething questions in our Baby Teething group

Poll: When did your baby cut her first tooth?

Watch the video: How To Help With Teething - Baby Massage Course Part Three. Channel Mum (August 2022).

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