Do Babies Need Teethers? Benefits and Risks

Teething can be a tough time for both babies and their parents. As the baby’s first set of teeth emerge, it can cause discomfort, irritability, and even fever. In response, many parents turn to teethers to provide some relief. But do babies really need teethers? In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of teethers, potential risks, and alternative solutions to help parents make an informed decision.
Watching your baby grow and develop can be a joyous experience. However, it can also come with many challenges, especially when it comes to their oral health. As your little one’s first teeth start to emerge, they may experience discomfort and pain. One solution that many parents turn to is using teethers to soothe their baby’s gums. But do babies need teethers? In this article, we will explore the benefits and risks of using teethers for your baby.

Do Babies Need Teethers? Benefits and Risks

1. What are teethers?

Teethers are devices designed to help babies during the teething process. They come in different shapes, sizes, and materials, and they’re meant to be chewed on to provide some relief. Some teethers are filled with water, while others can be frozen to provide a cooling effect. Teethers can be made of rubber, silicone, plastic, wood, or fabric.

Benefits of Using Teethers:

Soothing Pain and Discomfort: When babies start teething, they may experience discomfort and pain as their teeth push through their gums. Teethers can help soothe this discomfort and provide relief for your little one.
Encouraging Healthy Chewing: Using teethers can help your baby develop healthy chewing habits. This can help them prepare for solid foods and improve their overall oral health.
Promoting Sensory Development: Teethers come in a variety of textures, shapes, and colors, which can help promote sensory development in babies. Exploring different textures and shapes can help stimulate their senses and encourage cognitive development.

Risks of Using Teethers:

Choking Hazard: Some teethers may come apart or break, which can pose a choking hazard for your baby. It’s important to choose teethers that are durable and safe for your little one to use.
Bacteria Growth: Teethers can accumulate bacteria over time, especially if they are not cleaned properly. Make sure to clean your baby’s teethers regularly to reduce the risk of infection.
Overuse: While teethers can provide relief for your baby, overusing them can lead to dependency and may delay the development of healthy chewing habits.

2. Why do babies need teethers?

Teething can be a painful process, and babies may experience discomfort, irritability, and even fever. Chewing on a teether can help alleviate some of these symptoms by providing a soothing sensation. Teethers can also help babies develop their oral motor skills, such as biting and chewing.

3. Different types of teethers

There are several types of teethers available on the market. Some of the most common ones include:
Solid teethers: These are usually made of hard plastic or rubber and are meant to be chewed on.
Gel-filled teethers: These are filled with liquid or gel and can be cooled in the fridge or freezer.
Textured teethers: These have different textures on the surface to provide more stimulation to the baby’s gums.
Necklace teethers: These are designed to be worn by the parent and are made of soft silicone.
Natural teethers: These are made of natural materials, such as wood or rubber.

4. When should babies start using teethers?

Most babies start teething around 4-6 months of age. This is usually when parents can start introducing teethers to their babies. However, every baby is different, and some may start teething earlier or later than others.

5. Are teethers safe for babies?

Teethers can be safe for babies as long as they’re used correctly and are made of safe materials. It’s important to choose teethers that are free of BPA, phthalates, and other harmful chemicals. Parents should also supervise their babies while they’re using teethers to prevent choking or other accidents.


Do Babies Need Teethers? Benefits and Risks


6. What are the risks associated with teethers?

While teethers can be safe, there are some potential risks associated with their use. For example, if a teether is too small or has detachable parts, it can be a choking hazard. Some teethers can also break or crack, exposing sharp edges that can harm the baby’s mouth. Additionally, if a teether is not cleaned properly, it can harbor bacteria and cause infections.

7. How to choose the right teether for your baby?

When choosing a teether for your baby, consider the following:
Safety: Make sure the teether is made of safe materials and doesn’t have any detachable parts that could pose a choking hazard.
Texture: Choose a teether with different textures to provide more stimulation to the baby’s gums.
Size and shape: Make sure the teether is the right size and shape for your baby’s mouth and hands.
Cooling effect: If your baby seems to prefer cold objects to soothe their gums, consider a teether that can be cooled in the fridge or freezer.
Material: Consider the material of the teether, as some babies may have sensitivities or allergies to certain materials.

8. Other ways to soothe a teething baby

Teethers are not the only way to soothe a teething baby. Here are some alternative solutions:
Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger or a damp washcloth.
Offer your baby a cold, wet washcloth or a chilled pacifier.
Give your baby a massage around the jaw and cheek area.
Offer your baby soft foods that are easy to chew, such as mashed bananas or cooked sweet potatoes.

9. Do teethers help with teething pain?

Teethers can help alleviate some of the discomfort associated with teething, but they may not work for every baby. Some babies may prefer other forms of relief, such as cold washcloths or gentle massages.

10. Do all babies need teethers?

Not all babies need teethers. Some babies may not experience discomfort during teething or may find relief through other means. It’s up to the parent to decide whether or not to introduce a teether to their baby.

11. How long can babies use teethers?

Babies can use teethers as long as they’re still teething and find them helpful. However, once all of the baby’s teeth have come in, they may lose interest in teethers.

12. Can teethers affect a baby’s teeth development?

Teethers are not likely to affect a baby’s teeth development, as they’re only meant to be used temporarily during the teething process. However, it’s still important to choose a safe and appropriate teether to prevent any potential harm.

13. How to clean teethers?

Teethers should be cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria. Depending on the material of the teether, it can be cleaned with soap and water, wiped with a damp cloth, or boiled in water. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning recommendations.

14. Conclusion

Teething can be a challenging time for both babies and parents, but teethers can provide some relief. When choosing a teether, it’s important to consider safety, texture, size, material, and cooling effect. However, teethers are not the only solution to soothe a teething baby, and alternative methods should also be considered. As always, it’s important to supervise your baby while they’re using a teether and to consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns.

15. FAQs

Are silicone teethers safe for babies?

Yes, silicone teethers are generally considered safe for babies to use. They are often made from medical-grade silicone, which is non-toxic and free from harmful chemicals. Silicone teethers are also soft and flexible, which makes them gentle on a baby’s gums and teeth.
However, it’s important to make sure that the silicone teether you choose is of high quality and doesn’t contain any small parts or choking hazards. Additionally, you should always supervise your baby while they are using a teether to ensure their safety. If you notice any signs of wear and tear or damage to the teether, it’s important to replace it to avoid any potential hazards.

Can teething cause a fever?

Yes, teething can sometimes cause a low-grade fever in babies. The exact reason why this happens is not fully understood, but it’s believed to be due to the inflammation and irritation that occurs as the teeth break through the gums.
The fever associated with teething is usually mild and typically does not exceed 100.4°F (38°C). It may be accompanied by other teething symptoms, such as fussiness, drooling, and irritability. However, if your baby’s fever is high or persistent, it’s important to contact your pediatrician to rule out any other underlying health issues.

How can I tell if my baby is teething?

There are several signs and symptoms that can indicate that your baby is teething. Some common signs of teething include:
Excessive drooling: Teething can cause your baby to drool more than usual, which may lead to skin irritation around the mouth and chin.
Chewing and biting: As their teeth start to emerge, babies may develop the urge to chew and bite on objects to alleviate their discomfort.
Fussiness and irritability: Teething can cause discomfort and pain, which may make your baby more fussy and irritable than usual.
Sleep disturbances: Teething pain can also disrupt your baby’s sleep, causing them to wake up more frequently at night.
Red or swollen gums: The area around the emerging tooth may become red, swollen, and tender.
Loss of appetite: Some babies may experience a decrease in appetite during the teething process due to the discomfort they are feeling.
It’s important to note that not all babies experience these symptoms during teething, and some may have a more difficult time than others. If you suspect that your baby is teething, you can try offering them a teether or other safe object to chew on to provide some relief.

Can I give my baby pain medication for teething?

It is generally recommended to try non-medical remedies first before giving your baby pain medication for teething. Some options to consider include giving your baby a chilled teething ring or washcloth to chew on, massaging their gums with a clean finger, or offering them cold foods such as yogurt or pureed fruit.
If your baby is still experiencing significant discomfort or pain, you may consider giving them a pain reliever specifically formulated for infants, such as infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen. However, it’s important to follow the dosing instructions carefully and to only use these medications under the guidance of a pediatrician.
Additionally, you should never give your baby aspirin for teething pain, as it has been linked to a rare but serious condition called Reye’s syndrome in infants and children.

Are wooden teethers safe for babies?

Yes, wooden teethers can be safe for babies to use, but it’s important to take some precautions when using them. Wooden teethers should be made from high-quality, non-toxic wood, such as maple or beech wood. They should also be free from any small parts or choking hazards that could come loose and pose a risk to your baby.
It’s also important to inspect wooden teethers regularly for any signs of wear or damage, such as splintering or cracking. If you notice any damage to the teether, it’s important to stop using it immediately to avoid any potential hazards.
Additionally, wooden teethers should be cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and germs. You can clean them using mild soap and water, and then allow them to air dry completely before giving them back to your baby.

Author: Farhad Yashilyurd


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