Things to avoid when trying to soothe a teething child

Things to avoid when trying to soothe a teething child

While many of the teething remedies mentioned below have been handed down through generations, you should avoid:

  • Viscous lidocaine which has been linked to some severe reactions including death.
  • Homeopathic antidotes like Lidocaine and Benzocaine which could do more harm than good – as some were found to have higher traces of Atropa belladonna(a deadly anticholinergic agent).
  • Clove oil. Some parents think it's ok to use clove oil to alleviate the symptoms of teething if it is diluted, but the reality is that it can cause chemical burns on your child's gums if you miscalculate the dilution.
  • Putting aspirin on the gums or an erupting tooth. The use of aspirin increases the chances of your child developing Reye's syndrome when, a condition linked to aspirin use in those younger than the age of 19.
  • Rubbing any form of alcohol on your baby's gums. Even a small amount of alcohol can slow down a baby's system and can actually make the matter worse as it will irritate the membranes of the mouth. Regardless of the type of alcohol, don't give this to a teething child. Ethyl is intoxicating and is the alcohol which is typically found in wine and beer. The other form available known as Isopropyl, can be toxic if consumed. No matter what the ‘old wives' tale is or what anyone else tell you, do not give your child alcohol to alleviate the pain he/she is experiencing because of teething – it's not a quick fix.
  • Oral benzocaine sprays which can cause a rare complication known as Methemoglobinemia (a blood disorder wherein insufficient oxygen is delivered to the cells and the body). Benzocaine-containing teething gels shouldn't be used in infants or children who are under the age of two years.
  • Wrapping or tying a teething toy or ring around the neck of your child or any other part of the body is inadvisable as it could cause strangulation.
  • Teething gels and pills not recommended by your paediatrician or doctor as they might not be the safest options to use for your baby.
  • Giving your child ice to chew on. Firstly, it it's a choking hazard and secondly it can damage your child's gums due to the extremity of cold.

**MyMed Note: Exercise caution when considering giving your child an amber teething necklace, retailer claims that these necklaces relieve pain and inflammation of the ears, throat, digestive and respiratory system as well as boost the immune system are not supported by modern science. If you still decide to purchase one, be advised that they are both choking and strangulation hazards, and your child should be closely supervised when wearing one at all times. (1)


1.  American Academy of Pediatrics. 19 October 2016. Amber teething necklaces: A caution for parents. Available at Accessed [26/04/2018]

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