Font Size

Teething (cont.)

Baby Teething Home Remedies

  • Often, the infant's gums feel better when gentle pressure is placed on the gums. For this reason, many doctors recommend gently rubbing the gums with a clean finger or having the child bite down on a clean washcloth.
  • If the pain seems to be causing feeding problems, sometimes a different-shaped nipple or use of a cup may reduce discomfort and improve feeding.
  • Cold objects may help reduce the inflammation as well. Veteran parents have discovered the usefulness of frozen washcloths and ice cubes for this purpose. Be careful to avoid having prolonged contact of very cold objects on the gums. Also, never put anything into a child's mouth that might cause the child to choke.
  • Use of pain medications: Some controversy surrounds the use of pain medicines for teething.
    • While some parents endorse topical medications, studies have not consistently shown their benefit. In May 2011, the FDA issued a warning urging avoidance of oral medications containing a topical anesthetic called benzocaine. Benzocaine is the primary ingredient found in many over-the-counter teething gels, lozenges, and sprays. The FDA warning points out an association with a rare but extremely serious complication called methemoglobinemia. This side effect substantially limits the ability of red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body. This development may produce a side effect spectrum from serious to lethal. Individuals who develop methemoglobinemia will become pale, short of breath, confused, lightheaded, and confused. A rapid heart rate is also common. Such an adverse reaction may develop upon first exposure or after several exposures to benzocaine. Any individual who displays such symptoms after exposure to benzocaine should seek immediate medical attention at the closest emergency room. A medication can be used to reverse these side effects. Benzocaine products should not be used on children less than two years of age, except under the advice and supervision of a healthcare professional. Healthcare professionals and consumers are advised to consider the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations for treating teething pain instead of using the benzocaine teething products
      • Give the child a teething ring chilled in the refrigerator.
      • Gently rub or massage the child's gums with your finger to relieve the symptoms of teething in children.
    • If these methods do not provide relief from teething pain, consumers should talk to a healthcare professional to identify other treatments. Teething tablets are a homeopathic product, intended to provide temporary relief to teething symptoms in children. The product is sold over-the-counter (OTC) in retail outlets. The FDA has not evaluated Teething Tablets for safety and efficacy and is not aware of any proven clinical benefit offered by the product.
    • Medicines that are taken by mouth to help reduce pain: Acetaminophen (Children's Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Children's Advil or Motrin) may also help with pain. Ibuprofen should not be administered to infants younger than 6 months of age. Medications should be used only for the few times when the other home-care methods do not help. Caution should be taken not to overmedicate for teething. The medicine may mask significant symptoms that could be important to know about. Do not give children products containing aspirin.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/1/2015

Must Read Articles Related to Teething

Pain Medications
Pain Medications The effects of pain medication are different for each person. Pain also varies in tolerance as well from person to person. There are several different pain medi...learn more >>
Rash A rash is a visible skin outbreak. Examples of noninfectious rashes include eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea, hives, and al...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Teething:

Teething - Remedies

What age did your child start teething, and what remedies did you find effective?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Medical Dictionary