The TRUTH about teething (and teething gels and amber teething necklaces!)

Cute teething and smiling baby

Our brilliant new podcast, Ain’t That The Truth, is solving parents’ curly kids’ health queries – and providing much more accurate information than Dr Google can. This week we’re finding out the truth about teething – and debunking some piffle in the process.

Ain’t That The Truth LIVE on Facebook

Ain’t That The Truth is hosted by paediatric emergency nurse, author and children’s health advocate Sarah Hunstead. Sarah’s popping up LIVE each Tuesday at 1.30pm on Babyology’s Facebook page to help filter evidence-based fact from pesky fiction and answer questions in real time.

This week’s teething focused Facebook Live was a huge hit with parents, and questions rolled in thick and fast.

Join our LIVE CHAT with paediatric emergency nurse and founder of CPR Kids, Sarah Hunstead – this week we’re tackling all things teething and sorting the fact from the fiction when it comes to those pearly whites.For more myth-busting about kids' health, be sure to check out Ain't That The Truth, our new weekly podcast with Sarah – available now wherever you get your podcasts! > http://bit.ly/2J6GQTI

Posted by Babyology on Monday, 23 July 2018

To amber or not to amber?

First cab off the rank was Laura who wondered if amber teething necklaces were safe – or even effective.

Sarah says that the theory goes that “there is this type of acid in [amber teething necklaces] that, when it’s absorbed by the skin, may reduce the inflammation that can be caused by teething.”

But all is not what it seems: “That seems to have been blown out of the water by a lot of the studies … because the amount that can be absorbed by the skin isn’t actually enough to be able to have an effect. Which is really interesting.”

“What concerns me as a clinician – and certainly as with all the evidence that I’ve been reading against – is that amber teething necklaces can actually be a choking hazard. I have actually cared for a child who had an injury from the teething necklace. So I’ve got that experience but it’s not just the choking from wearing it around the neck, it’s also if they do have them around their wrists or their ankles that if it does break that those these can certainly be a risk of inhaling as well.”

It’s a “no” from Sarah!

Baby's cute teeth

To gel or not to gel?

Another parent wondered if teething gels were a safe option for miserable bubs who were waiting on their pearly whites. While Sarah notes that these numbing gels are super popular, and that her own mum said she went through “bucket loads” of them when Sarah was a baby, their use should be carefully considered.

“There are loads of studies out there that show that, particularly the ones with the anaesthetic in them, they can be quite damaging to kids. One of the ingredients in there can actually stop the haemoglobin in your blood. So basically you don’t breathe properly because you can’t transport your oxygen properly. And remember kids are little so they absorb this stuff more readily than what we do.”

Yowzers. Who knew?! If you’re pondering using a teething gel, research the ingredients carefully and have a chat with your doctor or child health nurse first.

Toddler girl eating pretzel in supermarket

Toothy q’s

We covered off lots of other curly questions in our chat with Sarah including:

  • How long does teething last?
  • When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
  • Does teething cause fevers?
  • How should you medicate a teething toddler?
  • How can you tell if a child is teething or actually sick?
  • Can teething give your child nappy rash?
  • Is ear-pulling a sign of teething?
  • How can I stop my toddler grinding her teeth?
  • Can I use icy poles to ease my child’s teething pain?
  • Should I worry that my child has no teeth yet?

Watch the video above to find out the answer to these questions – and many more!

For more evidence-based real talk about kids’ health, subscribe to Ain’t That The Truth, a Babyology podcast. Listen in through your usual podcast app – or online. 


Listen to Ain’t That The Truth or subscribe on iTunesStitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also follow Babyology on Facebook and Instagram for more fantastic podcasts (and competitions!)

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