Mother and Baby

Baby teething powders - do they really work?

Baby teething

From teething powders to gels, necklaces to toys, there are plenty of remedies that promise to soothe your baby’s gum pain during teething – but what is the right form of pain relief for your baby?

The teething process can be a long and painful journey for your baby, and they’re likely not to have their full set of 20 baby teeth until they’re 2-years-old.

Teething is a huge milestone for your baby and it won’t be long until they have a full set of baby teeth, but until then, they’ll be quite irritable and uncomfortable for some time. While some teeth might cause a run of restless nights, others will pop up one morning without warning. Whichever you find, there are lots of ways that will help your baby when they need it, and the secret is to experiment and mix and match your methods with each new tooth to find what really works.

The type of pressure that eases the pain of a sharp little incisor might be very different from what works for a chunky molar. And what soothes a grumbling peg a month before it pops up won’t be the same as what helps the pang as it cuts through the gum. So buy a few teethers and let your baby experiment to find which one works right now.

As well as teethers made from hard wood through to soft rubber, aim for flat, round, smooth and knobbly surfaces. Find a teether that features terrytowel fabric too and make sure there are different shapes so there’s something that will reach even if that troublesome tooth is right at the back of his little mouth.

Powders and granuals

These contain a natural pain reliever to ease discomfort and they easily dissolve in the mouth. They are sugar free, but always check label if your baby is lactose intolerant, as some contain this.

Teething gels

These contain a mild anaesthetic to numb the gum. Choose a sugar-free gel. If your baby is under four months old, check with your pharmacist first.

Paracetamol

Infant paracetamol is best for relieving mild to moderate discomfort before a tooth comes through. And when she is actually cutting a tooth, infant ibroprofen may be more effective as it reduces inflammation.

With all pain relief, consult your GP after a couple of days if the discomfort hasn’t eased.

Ask the expert 

We spoke to @themummydentist aka Dr Jemma, an NHS family dentist and clinical teacher in Paediatric Dentistry, to find out what she thought about teething powders and granules. 

'With regards to homeopathic medication the current NHS stance is “there's been extensive investigation of the effectiveness of homeopathy. There's no good-quality evidence that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition.”

'And the NICE guidance for management of teething a states “Do not recommend the use of homeopathic teething tablets or gels or herbal medicines (such as teething powders). If parents/carers choose to use these products, advise them to follow the manufacturers' dosage instructions and to avoid any unlicensed products.”

'So as you can see as a health professional, I can’t say that teething powders or granules have any proven effect. They may work as a placebo, by providing distraction for the baby from the taste or by counter pressure if applied gently to the gums using a finger or teething toy.'

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

🦷 So I’ve shared ‘teething charts’ before showing the approximate ages for baby teeth to come in. But this one is a bit extra as it also shows when these teeth are likely to become wobbly & fall out. πŸ’Έ There are 20 teeth in this set of ‘milk’ teeth which are also called the ‘primary’ or ‘deciduous’ teeth. Bear this in mind when you’re setting the going rate for the tooth fairy! πŸ₯‡You can see that often the first teeth to come in - the lower central incisors - are normally the first to be lost too. 😁 Also notice that the back baby molars can last up until around age 12. 😧 Baby teeth may be lost early due to bad tooth decay (and then extracted by a dentist) or dental trauma (being knocked out). πŸ‘€ Sometimes a tiny tooth might be around for even longer if there is an issue with the ‘adult’ successor - such as it growing in a funny position. πŸ‘΅πŸΌ Or when the permanent tooth is completely missing a grown up can still retain a baby tooth in their mouth. πŸ‘… Some children love showing off a wobbly tooth & will play around with it with their tongue or finger. 😲 But other kids are more cautious or even properly freaked out by the sensation of having a loose tooth in their mouth. 😬 Occasionally the adult tooth may appear through the gum before the baby one has fallen out (often behind it). When this happens keeping the area around the teeth clean can be tricky. 🌟 As with most child development milestones there can be wide variation in the ages so if your child is early or late loosing their teeth don’t panic. πŸ‘©πŸΌ‍βš•οΈ But it is important to see a dental professional regularly as they can check on dental developmental patterns & sequence - we’re not just counting teeth πŸ˜† . . . . . . πŸ“Έ via @pinterest #mummydentist #teethingbaby #babyadvice #babyinfo #mumchat #babysfirsttooth #growingup #maybebaby #babytips #babymilestones #parenthood #mummyblogger #modernmumlife #consciousparenting #raisinglittleones #letthembelittle #teething #teethingchart #familydentist #babytooth #babyteeth #babysmile #happybaby #tellmethetooth #smilingbaby #savingkidsteeth #wingingit #geekingout

A post shared by Jemma: mummy + dentist (@themummydentist) on

 

'It's important for parents to remember teething is a normal process. But if you do think your child is struggling, it's a good idea to exclude any alternative diagnosis/cause for the symptoms.' Says Jemma. 

'Simple self care measures - such as cooled items (cloth or foods), a gum massage using teething toy or clean finger, chewing to distract the baby, comforting baby and removing excess drool from the delicate facial skin, all help to soothe teething pain. You could also consider paracetamol and/or ibuprofen to provide symptom relief in infants three months of age or older, if the self-care measures have not helped.

'You could also try teething gels. Just remember over the counter topical oral lidocaine-containing products for infant teething are only available under the supervision of a pharmacist.'

So in summery, expert Dr Jemma says there is no evidence that teething powders and granuals help in any way at all to soothe teething, and any benefits that come from teething are likely to be from a placebo effect. 

'What should parents be mindful of before giving their teething toddler teething powders or granules is that some products contain lactose so it's important to be aware if your child is intolerant. Also this is a type sugar and some products may contain sucrose (another sugar), which could be a risk factor for tooth decay if applied directly and repeatedly to the baby’s mouth. Some even contain alcohol so it's also important to check the minimum age advised, and if used, do not exceed maximum dose. 

Ask #mumtribe 

We ask our group of real mums what they thought of baby teething powders and granuals and if they worked for their little one.

Fiona Davison-Dundas
Ashton and Parsons teething powders are brilliant, really easy to apply and work within minutes

Rach Griffiths
We have used Ashton & Parsons for both children, they work for a short while effectively. Although, they didn’t seem to work on our 11 month old, we ended up using the teething liquid instead. The powders are easy to apply & the small sachets are great for popping in your bag.  😊

Katie Nicole Chapman
We used Ashton & parsons, they worked for about 5 minutes and then didn’t again think it was more the taste distracted him  πŸ˜‚

Tracy Boyd
I found teetha worked really well for my oldest daughter along with anbesol liquid. My youngest is teething so I’ll be getting some more teetha

Clare Morris
We used the powders too and they were great but we loved dentinox gel and anbesol fluid. The fluid was the best thing going and worked immediately and lasted for hours as it goes straight into gums 
 

Best baby teething powders

A firm favourite with our Mumtribe mums, this powder claims to be a gentle, natural, traditional remedy to relieve babies teething pain. It contains Tincture of Matricaria, which is extracted from German chamomile flower heads and is suitable for babies over 6 months.

Nelsons Teetha is a homeopathic remedy formulated for the soothing and calming relief of the symptoms of teething
Teetha comes in granule format in 24 sachets.

Claiming to be for the relief of baby teething and colicky pain, it's made from soothing chamomile root and is suitable from birth upwards.

Soap, fragrance, colour and parabens free, this teething gel aims to numb and relieve your baby's teething symptoms. 

Bonjela claims to relieve teething pain and other mouth pain such as ulcers, sore spots and cold sores. 

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  • Author: Lorna White Lorna White
  • Job Title: Digital Writer

Lorna is the digital executive and regular contributor for Mother&Baby. After running the Yours magazine website which specialises in content about caring for kids and grandchildren, she has now brought her expertise to the UK's #1 leading pregnancy and parenting magazine. Lorna specialises on a range of topics from potty training and nutrition, to everything and anything that will keep your tot occupied!

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