As the name suggests, teethers help soothe swelling gums that result from teething. While they can ease the pain of erupting teeth, not all babies need them.
Chewing on these accessories can provide comfort, but there are other reasons babies love putting these toys into their mouths. Generally, babies try to put anything they can get their hands on into their mouths. It encourages tongue movement, which then leads to more awareness of the mouth. It also strengthens facial muscles, leading to better speech production.
You can read on Parenting Tipster the benefits of letting your babies play with teether toys. In the meantime, let’s go over some things you may need to know about baby teethers.
Buying Baby Teethers
As you will soon find out, there are other ways to soothe a teething baby apart from using teething toys. Should your little one respond to these methods, then teethers shouldn’t be a necessity. That said, teethers should make for a more convenient solution if they do work.
If you decide to take this route, you need to know how to choose the right one. That means steering clear of teethers that aren’t specifically for teething alone. Some toys contain plastic objects and liquids that could injure or choke your child. Avoid them at all costs, too.
Go for BPA- and phthalate-free items when picking out teethers, as these chemicals can bring harm to babies. Even if a specific teether is labeled non-toxic, you still need to get to the bottom of whether or not it has BPA and other toxic pigments. Take extra care when choosing these accessories because they go into the mouths of very sensitive and vulnerable individuals.
How To Clean Teethers
An important part of using teethers is knowing how to clean them. Again, these toys, along with anything that could be on them, go into your child’s mouth. Thus, you want to clean them after every use and avoid sharing them with other babies.
You can wash teethers with soap and water or place them in the dishwasher. If your child uses them frequently, it should be enough to sanitize them with baby wipes in between uses. That is, if you don’t bring them out of the house or your baby’s room.
How To Know Your Child Is Teething
Teething can cause discomfort, which is the main reason why babies cry in their first year of life. Then again, pain and discomfort can result from a lot of things outside of teething too. Here are some signs that teething could be the reason for your babies non-stop wailing:
- Fussiness. Babies can be fussy for a number of different reasons, but teething is easily among the main suspects from months four to 12.
- Trouble sleeping. Teething can result in a lack of sleep for your little one.
- Irritability. Babies can be fussy, but if they’re fussier than usual, they could be teething.
- Appetite loss. The pain and discomfort from teething may result in your little one refusing to eat.
- Drooling. A major sign your child is teething is when he drools excessively.
- Gum redness. Reddening gums are some of the first signs of teeth eruption.
- Gum pain and soreness. Along with redness, gums also become sore and painful when new teeth start to sprout.
When Should You See a Pediatrician?
While you should be able to handle most of the above signs at home, the following would mostly require medical intervention:
Tips for Soothing a Teething Baby
Aside from teethers, there’s a host of other items and methods that can help calm a teething baby and soothe their gums:
- Rubbing the gums. You can use a cold spoon, a clean finger, or a moist gauze pad to rub on the gums. Make sure to rub gently, as a teething baby’s gums are extremely sensitive.
- Giving painkillers. You should only consider this option after getting the go-signal from your child’s doctor.
- Using numbing gels and creams. While helpful for soothing the pain and discomfort of teething, you shouldn’t use numbing gels or creams on kids under two years of age. You should also consult your child’s pediatrician before going this route.
- Giving kids frozen carrot sticks to chew on. Again, these are for older kids who are teething, as babies would be prone to choking on them.
Regardless of the technique you use, it is vital to consult with your child’s pediatrician to ensure good oral and overall health. A dentist should also be in the picture before the child turns a year old to prepare him for his very first procedures. Don’t worry; it won’t likely be anything more than simple teeth cleaning.
So, Are Teether Toys Necessary?
Teether toys are useful, but they are not the be-all-end-all solution for teething problems. As you can see, there are plenty of other ways to address teething pain and discomfort in children. That said, should you find a teether toy that your baby responds to well and checks all the safety boxes, take full advantage of it by all means.