Cutting teeth doesn’t seem like such a big deal until you have a teething toddler in your house and their pain becomes your pain! For generations parents have used teething jewelry like necklaces, bracelets or anklets to help relieve teething pain and there is a vast market of people currently buying and selling these products. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, advises parents to avoid using teething jewelry.

“We’re concerned about the risks we’ve observed with these products and want parents to be aware that teething jewelry (puts) children, including those with special needs, at risk of serious injury and death.”

FDA News Release, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

This FDA warning was issued after the death of an 18-month old child who was strangled by his amber teething necklace during a nap. In another case cited by the FDA a 7-month old baby who was under parental supervision choked on the beads of a wooden teething bracelet and was taken to the hospital. The risks of teething jewelry are twofold, with the potential for choking and strangulation.

Rather than using teething jewelry, here are some recommendations to soothe a teething baby:

• Gently rub their gums with a clean finger, a cool spoon or a moist gauze pad.
• Use a teething ring, avoid liquid filled teething rings or plastics that may break.
• Under the age of two, avoid BENZOCAINE products, such as Orajel.
• Always look at what a product is made of and avoid homeopathic gels and tablets.

If you have any questions about how to alleviate your child’s teething symptoms, talk to your dentist or pediatrician.

Donald R. Dexter, Jr., DMD