One popular question I get time and time again from mothers of some of my patients, as well as my friends, in dental advice for their babies is what to do and use during teething.
There are of course over the counter products available, but with the many recalls that happen, (Hyland’s homeopathic teething tablets were recalled last year), or with FDA concerns of using benzocaine in infants, (that is the active ingredient in Oragel Baby or Baby Anbesol), i.e. allergic reaction or the severe concern of methemoglobinemia, (which reduces the amount of oxygen carried the bloodstream but really happens in larger doses), it’s sometimes scary for moms to know what products to use that are out there.
Plus with the array of teething rings and toys out there, (Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether being most kids all time favorite recently), those can get pricey after all the months that your baby is chewing away on them! There are definitely some remedies that are cheap and effective that moms can do at home that I give my dentist thumb’s up to and offer in my advice.
Remedy #1: Cold Hankie:
A cold handkerchief with ice in it at the teething site can ‘numb’ the area and relieve tenderness and swelling discomfort from the erupting teeth, (teeth coming in). You can even freeze wet washcloths, ring dry them before using, and tie a knot in them so that there is an area to bite on. Also, an added bonus idea, instead of freezing a wet washcloth of water, wet it with lukewarm chamomile tea as the solution before freezing. Chamomile has calming and strong anti inflammatory properties.
Remedy #2: Frozen Food:
Freezing fruit like bananas or peaches in a mesh food holder or vegetables like peeled cucumber or broccoli gives the cold relief, plus a nutritional snack! But beware, it can get a little messy!
Remedy #3: Popsicles:
Instead of making popsicles loaded with sugar from concentrated juices, try it with juice from freshly squeezed oranges, also loaded with vitamin C which can boost immunity. You can also make pops with lukewarm chamomile tea.
Remedy #4: Natural Oils:
Clove oil is a great ayurvedic remedy that many old Indian grandmothers reccomend, including my own, since it has worked for generations! It has warming and numbing properties but with infants, be careful, since in excess, it can actually cause stomach upset or be too strong for the baby’s gums and can burn. To avoid this and to add the beneficial massage to the area, mix a few drops in some safflower oil to dilute it and massage it in the gum/teething area.
Another great oil is vanilla extract oil. Vanilla has great calming and warming effects also. The great thing is that it is also good for stomach distress, so if the baby swallows some of it while applying a few drops and massaging to the area, it is not harmful.
If your child has/if your child develops a fever or any type of reactive symptoms during the teething process, remember to schedule or seek advice from the pedetrician or pediatric dentist.
And remember, after all the teething, they end up with the cutest little smile