Topic Overview

There are many ways to help your baby who is teething. You can help relieve discomfort by offering your baby safe objects to chew or suck on. Do not use teething gels.footnote 1

A wide variety of teethers and toys are made of non-toxic materials and are specially designed for teething babies. Teething rings come in many different sizes and shapes. Some are made of firm rubber (with or without bumps). Don't use liquid-filled teething rings. Your baby can choke if they break open.

Clean teething rings, teethers, and toys after each use. Check the package label to see if the object is dishwasher-safe.

Never tie an object such as a teething ring or pacifier around your baby's neck. The cord could tighten and choke the baby or, at the very least, irritate his or her skin.

Cold foods or liquids

Babies often resist feedings when they are teething. Sucking brings more blood to the gums, which increases sensitivity and swelling in the area. If your child is eating solids, try offering cold foods and fluids to help decrease the swelling and discomfort. For children older than 6 months, try feeding your child very cold applesauce, pureed peaches, or yogurt.

You can also let your baby chew on a clean, damp, cold face cloth.

Over-the-counter products

The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) does not recommend using other teething remedies, such as gels you put on a baby's gums.footnote 1 Gels can make a baby's throat numb. This may cause trouble swallowing. The medicine in the gel may also harm a baby.

Do not use teething powder or aspirin on your baby's gums. Inhaling small particles of teething powder or aspirin can cause lung problems. Also, aspirin should not be given to anyone younger than 20, because it has been linked with Reye syndrome.

Do not give your baby any alcohol. Check medicine labels carefully. Avoid buying those that list alcohol as one of the first few ingredients. Alcoholic beverages, including fruit-flavoured brandy or wine, can be harmful to your baby in any amount.

Related Information



  1. Canadian Dental Association (2013). Dental care for children: Dental development. Canadian Dental Association. Accessed January 24, 2013.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine

Current as ofNovember 20, 2015