You find yourself constantly wiping drool off your baby’s face, they’re chewing on everything in sight and they seem a little more irritable than usual. The most likely culprit? They have baby teeth coming in!
The good news is, teething, which usually starts between the ages of 6 months and 1 year, tends to get easier with each tooth and, in the meantime, teething toys are a great way to keep your infant comfortable. However, not all teethers are created equal. As a Washington pediatric dentist and mom, I’ll be sharing 8 safe and effective baby teething toys.
How do Teethers Help a Teething Baby?
A baby’s teething symptoms are generally pretty mild and short-lived. They should go away once the tooth breaks through the gums. But, every infant is different, and some have a harder time with teething than others. It’s not uncommon for your baby’s gums to be sore, which can make them fussy and irritable.
To help your baby get teething relief, you may want to offer a teething toy. Chewing on a teething toy massages the gums and applies counter-pressure to the erupting tooth, which helps alleviate pain. It’s also fun for infants to have free reign to chew on something, distracting them from their discomfort.
Teethers aren’t just a great teething remedy either. Putting things in their mouth is a natural part of your baby’s development and a way for them to explore the world and self-soothe. So, even when your infant’s not actively teething, a teether is something they can use to safely satisfy their mouthing instinct.
Baby Teething Toys to Avoid
Before I dive into the best teething toys, let’s talk about the ones to avoid. I usually tell the parents of my DC pediatric dental patients to steer clear of:
- Liquid-Filled Teething Rings – If your child chews through the material, they could end up ingesting whatever is inside the ring.
- Anything With Breakable Parts or Batteries – Even without teeth, your baby’s chewing muscles might be stronger than you think. Batteries and breakable pieces pose a choking risk.
- Teething Toys That Don’t Have the Materials Clearly Labeled – If you’re unsure of what a teether is made of, don’t give it to your child. The CDC reported a case of an infant who got lead poisoning from using a handmade homeopathic magnetic hematite teething bracelet the parents had purchased from an artisan at an area fair. Whether you’re shopping in-person or online, sticking with reputable brands that list the materials used in the teething toy is your safest bet.
- Teething Jewelry for Babies to Wear – Amber baby teething necklaces are popular and though they might be marketed as a home remedy for teething, there is a risk of your baby chewing off a bead and choking on it. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and FDA warn that infants shouldn’t wear any teething jewelry at all, including teething necklaces and bracelets made of any material because they’re a choking and strangulation hazard. While it’s safer for mom or dad to wear teething jewelry, you’ll still want to pass on necklaces or bracelets with beads that are small enough for your child to choke on.
- Teethers With Chemicals or Allergens – Check that teething toys are BPA- and phthalate-free. Additionally, keep an eye out for common allergens like latex.
The Best Teething Toys for Babies
To help your teething baby get relief, you can chill certain teethers for a numbing effect. But, be sure teethers aren’t frozen to the point of being uncomfortably cold or hard, which can damage your child’s gums. I recommend chilling them in the refrigerator instead of the freezer. Regardless of the type of teether, you’ll also want to keep an eye on your child while they’re using it.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Sophie La Girafe – This baby shower staple is on the pricier side but it’s a long-time favorite of parents. The adorable giraffe teether is BPA-free and made from natural rubber and food-quality paint. It’s safe, has plenty of squish and is all one piece, so there aren’t any components that can break off. Bonus: the legs are long enough to reach the back of the mouth when your little one’s molars start coming in.
- Baby Banana Infant Toothbrush – Part infant teething toy, part toothbrush, the famous banana teether gets the pediatric dentist seal of approval. The bendable training toothbrush is made of flexible, BPA-free and latex-free silicone. It’s dishwasher safe too. The handles on the side help your little one hold it and the toothbrush soothes sore gums, while introducing kids to oral hygiene.
- Comotomo Silicone Baby Teether – The Comotomo silicone teether is one of the best teething toys for younger babies because it’s easy to grab and hold. It has plenty of chewing surfaces, including the fun little fingers that are meant to mimic baby fingers. The teether is made of food-grade silicone and is free of BPA, phthalate, plastic, nitrosamine and lead. The one-piece design makes for safe gnawing and it’s heat-resistant, so you can toss it in the dishwasher to wash it.
- Fridababy Not-Too-Cold-To-Hold Teether – Fridababy’s innovative teether has two double-sided, chillable gum massagers with four different textures designed to stimulate the gums in the front and back of the mouth. You pop the chilled massager into the silicone handle, so the teether isn’t too cold for baby to hold. Made of nontoxic, BPA-free silicone, the teether is safe (just be sure the massager isn’t so cold it will be painful to chew on).
- Moonjax Silicone Baby Teething Toy – Made in the U.S., the Moonjax silicone teether is crafted from 100% medical-grade silicone and is BPA-, PVC-, latex- and phthalate-free. It’s also odorless and free of dyes. It has a gag-free design, plenty of areas to chew and is easy to hold. It’s one piece and doesn’t have corners that can trap dirt. The teething toy is dishwasher, freezer and sterilizer safe.
- teetherpop Fillable Baby Teether – One the best teething remedies for babies 6 months or older, is giving them chilled food. teetherpop’s fillable teethers cut down on the mess while soothing your baby’s gums. You can fill the silicone teether with puree, water, breastmilk, formula or smoothies and then let it chill in the fridge. The flexible teether has small slits that slowly release the puree or liquid.
- Nuby Happy Hands Teething Mitten – If your baby has difficulty keeping a grip on teethers, a teething mitten might be the answer. Nuby’s teething mittens are made of BPA-free silicone. They can be worn on either hand and make a fun crinkly noise for extra stimulation. The textured silicone soothes teething gums and the machine-washable mitten also keeps your baby from scratching themselves.
- Green Sprouts Molar Teether – Made from BPA- and PVC-free silicone, this teether is designed to be able to reach and massage the gums above the molars. It’s soft, flexible and easy to hold. With a variety of different textures, babies won’t get tired of chewing on it. When it needs to be cleaned, it can go right into the dishwasher.
Contact a Washington DC Kids’ DentistIf you have questions about the best teething toy for your baby, or teething in general, schedule a visit at Smile Valley Pediatric Dentistry in DC! When you bring your child in for a dental exam, my team and I always take the time to fill you in on everything you need to know about your little one’s growing smile.