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Why Teething Tablets Should Be Avoided

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

If your little one is around six months old, primary teeth are likely starting to come in. With this exciting milestone could come some fussiness from your baby, as teeth eruption can be a bit uncomfortable. This stage of tooth eruption and teething makes many, but not all, babies irritable. Beyond irritability, signs your baby is teething include more drooling than usual, tender gums, and a desire to chew on hard objects. When you notice your baby is feeling uncomfortable, it's only normal to want to give them some relief! There are plenty of safe options to do so. But teething tablets, for example, are one option you should stay away from.

What Are Teeth Tablets?

Teething tablets for babies are small pills designed to dissolve under a baby's tongue or in a small amount of water. These tablets, also known as dentonic teething pills, are a homeopathic treatment. They typically contain ingredients such as Chamomilla, which helps with irritability, and Coffea Cruda, which helps curb sleeplessness.

Why Avoid Them?

Teething tablets can potentially contain toxic and dangerous ingredients. Since the supplement industry isn't regulated, there's no way to verify the exact ingredients and portions of ingredients in teething tablets. Homeopathic teething tablets often contain belladonna, a plant known to have medicinal properties but can also be toxic. Although it's sometimes sold as a supplement, the National Library of Medicine lists belladonna as "likely unsafe" when taken by mouth.

Most products containing belladonna is carefully regulated. But unfortunately, teething tablets are not. Beyond the potential toxicity of belladonna, how much you ingest is a crucial factor. If a baby eats beyond the recommended dose, it can lead to symptoms such as extreme lethargy, seizures, and excessive sleepiness.

Are There Alternatives?

Fortunately, there are several ways to help your child feel better as their teeth come in. Such as simple tips like giving your baby a cold washcloth or lightly chilled teething ring to chew on, which helps soothe tender gums, or gently massaging your baby's gums with your clean fingers can also help relieve any discomfort they feel. To keep the area around their mouth and lips from becoming irritated or sore, use another soft cloth to wipe away extra drool, as excess saliva can irritate delicate skin over time. If your child requires more relief than a topical treatment like a gum massage or teething ring, you can give them a pain reliever like ibuprofen. We recommend speaking with your pediatrician about how much ibuprofen, and which brand, you should give to your child.

While finding ways to ease your baby's discomfort, you may also want to start thinking about introducing them to a good oral care routine. As the teeth begin to emerge, you can begin with an age-appropriate toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste, the size of a grain of rice. Doing this twice a day will help your child get used to having dental products in their mouth. It also sets them on the right path of fighting bacteria that develops after a feeding.

We don't recommend teething tablets as a safe solution to your child's teething discomfort. But we understand that it's a priority to help them find relief! Luckily, there are plenty of ways to help your child through these growing pains, from gum massages to over-the-counter pain medication. And remember, teething won't last forever!

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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