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.
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.
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.'
'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.
We ask our group of real mums what they thought of baby teething powders and granuals and if they worked for their little one.
Ashton and Parsons teething powders are brilliant, really easy to apply and work within minutes
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 😂
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
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
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.
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!
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a happily sleeping baby. After hours (or what feels like it) trying to soothe them, when they finally drift off and silence reigns once again there’s something rewarding in peeking through the door, or checking your baby monitor and seeing your baby sound asleep.
The latest model to join the Out ‘n’ About range is the new GT pushchair. A good one for cruising around town or casually strolling down those country park roads, the GT has been designed with both the parent and child in mind.