Nothing can ‘cure’ teething; after all, it’s not a disease but a right of passage for us all. However, there are some old-fashioned methods that can help alleviate your little loved one’s discomfort.
Many parents today want to return to old-fashioned or homeopathic ways of helping their child through the discomfort of teething. Many are concerned about the possible side-effects or long term harm certain ‘gum’ gels or painkillers may cause. Also, many dislike the idea of seeing a brightly coloured piece of plastic permanently lodged in their little darling’s mouth. Apart, from lacking aesthetic charm, there have been concerns about teething rings that use diisononyl phthalate. This chemical is used as a softening agent during the manufacturing process and most teething toys contain about 10 to 20 percent phthalate. This chemical is believed to be cancer causing and the fear is that babies may ingest the chemical as they suck on the ring. Indeed, many European countries have banned this substance being used in the manufacture of all soft toys. Although the U.S. warning stopped short of complete prohibition, Sears, Walmart, K-mart, Toys R Us and Target have vowed not to sell toys that contain phthalate.
For generations parents have given their teething toddlers something cold to chomp on. It’s still remains one of the most effective ways to alleviate sore gums, especially during the early stages of teething; just before the tooth erupts. Chewing on cold vegetables, especially carrots, is an old practice. Even giving your child a cold, damp cloth to chew is highly effective, though be sure that the cloth is clean. One country remedy involves putting a piece of cold apple wrapped in the cloth.
There is an ancient practice of using clove oil which has been diluted in vegetable oil. The solution is applied directly on to the child’s gums with a finger or cotton swab. Clove oil is well known for its quality of topical ‘numbing’. A word of caution: too much pure oil can burn and blister the gums.
Bread has been used for many centuries as a king of teething ring or pacifier. The old fashioned, whole meal breads work best. The bread has to be hard and not liable to disintegrate in your baby’s mouth, which can lead to choking. Bagels have been, and still, are a very popular teething ring.
Homeopathic remedies are a safe, non-toxic way to help relieve the pain and make your baby happier. You should use a homeopathic remedy in conjunction with expert advice and guidance. First discovered in 1835, by the Rev. Brauns, in Thuringia, Germany, Apis mellifica has been used to ease teething discomfort. Apis mellifica actually means whole honey bee. It became popular because of its ease of preparation and because it just seemed to work. Over the succeeding years, the preparation has gone through several changes to improve its efficacy. These improvements involved the introduction and use of Apium virus (removed venom sack) and later Apis Venenum Purum (pure bee venom). You can still buy this preparation today. Other homeopathic products can also be bought, Hyland’s Teething Tablets being the most well known.
There is an old European belief that wearing amber close to the skin eases the pain of teething. Whilst there is no scientific evidence to back this up, it would seem something like this couldn’t hurt, however, watch your baby; the beads could come loose and pose a choking hazard.
Finally, probably the most tried and trusted method of easing your child’s teething pains is by distraction. This works a treat for most babies and is a chance for mom and dad to play with baby.
Robin O’Brien is founder of a baby teething website that help parents understand the teething symptoms of infant teething .