When your baby is teething, there a few do's and don'ts when it comes to relieving his or her discomfort. For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends giving your baby something firm and cool to chew on, but advises against giving baby anything that's frozen and teething toys attached to a necklace.
But what about teething biscuits? The biscuits are often hard and firm enough to soothe baby's discomfort; however, some contain sugar and aren't recommended. Here are a few things to think about before giving your baby biscuits.
Safety of Biscuits
Usually, babies begin teething around the age of 6 months. Some babies start teething earlier, while other might begin later. Around 6 months old is also when many babies start to eat their first solid foods.
It's not always recommended that you give a newly teething baby teething biscuits. As the NIH notes, it is often best to wait until the baby is 8 to 12 months old before you give him or her finger foods to gnaw on. That includes biscuits or any other sort of hard cracker, such as Melba toast. Always supervise your baby when you give him or her solid food to minimize the risk for choking.
Teething Biscuits and Tooth Decay
Even baby teeth can decay or form cavities. As the American Academy of Pediatrics points out, tooth decay is the most common infectious disease during childhood. While tooth decay in babies is often associated with giving them juice in bottles, any prolonged exposure to sugary or starchy snacks can increase your baby's risk for cavities and decay.
Giving Your Baby Biscuits
Although teething biscuits can increase the risk for tooth decay, they also have some benefits, such as helping your child learn to chew and helping your child get used to solid foods. If you decide to give your baby biscuits or crackers to help him or her through the teething process, there are some options worth trying. When purchasing biscuits, look for varieties that contain as little sugar as possible. Some don't have any added sugar, for instance.
You can also make teething cookies for your baby at home. One option is to make zweiback bread, which is often used in Europe to help teething babies. Whether you make zweiback bread or another teething recipe, keep an eye on the amount of sugar in it. Even ingredients that don't seem particularly sugary, such as oats or flour, do contain a fair amount of starch, which can increase the risk for decay.
Protecting Your Baby's Teeth
Whether you decide to give your teething baby biscuits or not, it's important to take good care of his or her newly formed teeth, to reduce the risk for cavities. Limit the time your baby spends with crackers or cookies and with juice or milk bottles. For example, don't put your baby to bed with a biscuit or a bottle.
It's never too soon to start brushing your baby's teeth. Brush his or her teeth twice a day or after giving him or her a biscuit to chew on. Pick a toothpaste that gently cleans teeth, like one with a soft-bristled brush. Brushing from an early age helps your child get used to the feeling of a toothbrush and toothpaste. It also helps him or her develop good habits that will last for the rest of his or her life.