What are teething rings and are they good for babies?

When it comes to teething rings, there are many options available.  Teething rings are small toys that baby can chew on while they're teething.  They come in a variety of different shapes and sizes and can be made from either plastic or silicone rubber.  The idea behind them is that chewing on something will help numb the pain of cutting teeth breaking through gums (or just plain distract them from it)!  

However, not all teething rings are created equal and some can be downright toxic.  It is recommended that parents should avoid giving their babies teething rings made from PVC because they may contain the toxic chemical BPA (bisphenol A).

Most babies start teething at around 3-months old, but some have a harder time than others and start as early as three weeks old!  This can be particularly problematic for parents who are trying to find toys and solutions that will soothe their child's discomfort without causing any harm.  Luckily, there is an age-old solution that has been used by generations of parents - teething rings.

Click here to view our range of eco-friendly natural teething rings and remedies.


1. Teething is one of the most challenging times for new parents

Teething is one of the most challenging times for new parents.  It can be painful for babies, but there are a few ways you can help soothe your little one through it. One way is by using teething rings—but what are they?  And how do you know if they're right for your baby?

Teething rings aren't just any old toy; they're designed to help soothe sore gums and ease pain caused by teething.  They come in all shapes, sizes, colours and materials—so you'll find something that suits your baby's needs.  There are also different kinds of teethers designed to fit different ages; some have handles or loops so that babies can hold them themselves (or their parents can hold them) while others may be shaped like animals or toys familiar from childhood games.

Teething rings are an age-old solution to teething pain, and they can be helpful in keeping your baby occupied while you try to make it through the seemingly endless hours of discomfort, however, they're usually not recommended for babies less than 3 months old.


 

2. Teething rings come in many shapes and materials

Although they come in a variety of shapes and materials, teething rings all serve the same purpose: to soothe your baby's sore gums.

  • Wooden teething rings:  One of the most popular varieties is a wooden ring with a hollow center.  Wooden teething rings are particularly eco-friendly and often feature some form of sensory fabric or attachment with rattle or silicone beads.  Teething toys made out of wood tend to be soft enough for babies' mouths but hard enough for them to chew on without breaking apart too quickly.  You should still keep an eye on your child when playing with wooden toys just in case something happens unexpectedly (like if they accidentally bites down too hard).  Wooden teething rings are easy to take care of, wipe clean and can be treated with oil though it is not necessary as wooden teething rings are natural should take you through baby’s entire teething journey.  Always make sure to check for any splintering or splitting before giving baby a wooden teether.    
  • Natural rubber teether:  Another natural option often made with food grade or natural pigments, these teethers come in a variety or shapes and styles, with plenty textures and ridges to grip on and get baby’s sore gums stuck into.  Note that natural rubber teethers tend to be wipe-clean only so not suitable for the dishwasher or steriliser.  Another consideration is if there is a history of latex allergies in your family, it’s best to avoid natural rubber teethers altogether.  

  • Silicone teething ring:  Another common type of teething ring is made from silicone rubber.  These rings are usually shaped like spheres or half-circles, but can also be found in other geometric shapes such as cubes, balls or triangles.  Silicone teething rings are man made, so they can usually be put in the dishwasher or fridge.  Ensure you purchase only food grade or medical grade silicone as these are safest for baby.
  • BPA free teething ring: Another popular choice among parents today is a teething ring that is plastic, but that's BPA free (bisphenol A).  BPA is an industrial chemical used in many plastic products including baby bottles and sippy cups that has been linked to several health risks when consumed over time by infants who have a higher risk than adults due to their smaller size and faster metabolic rate.

Both rubber and silicone are popular choices for parents who want something safe for their little ones to chew on during those painful days when teeth are coming in fast. Rubber is more likely to lose its shape over time than silicone, due to repeated chewing by kids; however, many parents prefer rubber because they find it easier to clean than silicone versions which may require hand washing and not be dishwasher safe, and are a more natural option.

 


3.  Can I freeze a teething ring?

Chilling a teething ring in the fridge or freezer can help soothe fussiness, gums that are tender and swollen, and drooling.  You can also make your own chilled teething rings using items you probably already have handy (such as frozen fruit).

Parents should avoid giving babies frozen teething rings.  The cold may feel good on the gums at first, but it will not last long—and it could even cause frostbite if left on too long.  Chilled is better than frozen when it comes to teething rings!


4.  Are there alternative natural remedies to soothing teething pain?

There are a few natural at home remedies to try and soothe baby’s teething pain alongside using a teething ring or toy.  These alternatives are a great starting point to try before opting for medicated forms of pain relief.  

Babies under 6 months should avoid teething rings with small parts, such as beads or plastic links.  But if you're looking for something to soothe your baby's sore gums and provide some extra comfort on a particularly bad day, there are plenty of options available.

  Amber teething jewellery 

Amber is believed to have healing properties and balance emotions, and has been widely used for many hundreds of years.

When amber comes into contact with the skin, it releases succinic acid a powerful antioxidant that protects the body's cells. The strong antioxidant has anti-inflammatory properties which are said to relieve baby's teething pain. 

Amber is said to bring comfort, warmth and joy, as well as relief and stress. When heated, amber changes ionisation and is thought to have a positive effect on the body and mind. 

Common applications have been to relieve pain/symptoms of arthritis, asthma, allergies and teething in babies.  Amber acids are now produced artificially and used in modern medicine.

 Massaging baby’s gums

Massaging your child's gums with a clean finger can help as well.  This is especially helpful if he or she has already started teething, but it can also be effective for those who have yet to start teething.

It's important that you use only your clean fingers when massaging your baby's gums, because germs from other sources could make him or her sick. You should avoid using toys or objects that aren't disinfected regularly and cleaned thoroughly after each use, which would greatly reduce the risk of infection in this area.  A textured silicone baby finger toothbrush also works well for this purpose.

A chilled wet washcloth

A chilled wet washcloth is a great option for little ones if it's not safe for them to put something hard into their mouths - there are some babies who could choke or are too young and have started teething early.  Chilled washcloths will help get rid of the excess drool that comes from teething and make your little one more comfortable at night when he or she starts snoozing.

 Cold fruit or veg 

It is advised that parents do not use water-filled teethers because they can cause children to choke. However, cold cucumber or carrots may be soothing as they can chew on them too.  For older babies of weaning age, a frozen banana may also be soothing.  Breastmilk lollies can also serve to soothe sore gums.  

 

 

5.  What are the main things to consider before buying a teething ring?

  • Consider what the age range is for.

  • Check if it's free of hazardous chemicals.

  • Choose a teething ring that is easy for your baby to hold onto, such as those made of silicone or rubber (these can be frozen).

  • Look for a teether that's easy to clean and sterilize, such as one with a design that allows you to pop it in the dishwasher after use.

  • Choose a teething ring that has textured bumps or ridges
  • Consider choosing a teething ring which you can attach a strap so you can attach it to your child's clothing, bib, muslin or comforter.

Teething rings are a simple way to soothe your baby.  While they’re not an absolute necessity, they can be a useful tool for parents to help their baby through the teething stage.  They're also a great way to introduce them to the world of toys and make them feel more comfortable when they're learning about their new teeth.  Teething rings aren't just great early toys—they're also meant to help relieve pain caused by teething!  So make sure you choose one that's easy-to-clean and easy-to-grasp.   

Hopefully you feel more equipped to purchase the best teething ring or toy for your little ones having read through this blog post.  While you're here, why not take a look at our range of teething rings and toys for baby

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