I would like to know how to comfort and relax a newborn whose primary teeth (or milk teeth) are about to emerge. What about soothing the gums with a teether? I have read that they are harmful and should not be used.

Should we alleviate the soreness with some kind of medication? Or should we just leave things alone and let Nature take its course?

Please base the description of your suggested approach on specific details and proven methods.

4 Answers 4


I have never read anything that said teethers were bad--where did you read that?

If you aren't comfortable with using a teether (which, btw, neither of my kids ever showed any interest in), you can try giving your child a cool, damp washcloth to chew on. Our daughter preferred this, but she will also chew on her fingers if nothing else is handy. My grandmother always gave me frozen bananas to eat which, while very messy, were pretty effective. My sister-in-law gave her daughter cold celery sticks to chew on. Another of my sisters-in-law would brush her daughters's gums with an electric toothbrush and this seemed to feel good.

Medications are always hit-and-miss. We used baby Orajel on our son once and discovered it worked better at numbing our finger than numbing his gum. When your child is producing copious amounts of saliva, the Orajel just doesn't last long enough to be very effective. I know some parents (our neighbors, my cousin) who had success with teething tablets, but they contain belladonna and I could never bring myself to use them on my own kids. But these other parents swear by them.

If it came down to it, and our kids were just miserable and couldn't sleep, we'd give them Tylenol. It took about 15 minutes for it to kick in, but it at least made them comfortable enough that they could sleep or go about their day pain-free for a few hours.

Kids are pretty inventive at finding things to chew on if their gums are bothering them. When I was working on my molars as a toddler, I remember chewing on a plastic toy giraffe that had horns on its head and pointy ears, and I can remember how good it felt to chew on that toy giraffe. Must have felt pretty good to make such a lasting impression on a 2-year-old.

  • This is where I read about Teether: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teether. Do you recommend me buying a Teether from Mothercare(FYI: mothercare.com)? Thanks
    – Maxood
    Apr 1, 2012 at 18:47
  • 2
    I couldn't even begin to tell you where to buy a good, safe teether. I received a few as gifts before my oldest was born, but neither of my kids were really interested in using them as teethers. Certainly, if I were to buy one, I would try to find one made as chemical-free as possible. It seems like European countries have stricter rules regarding the manufacturing of things like teethers than the US or China, so that would probably be my top criteria.
    – Meg Coates
    Apr 2, 2012 at 0:20
  • Thanks Megan for your valuable piece of advice! Just one last question: When is the right age for infants to have milk teeth? I and my mother have seen a few babies whose milk teeth began growing when they were hardly 3 months old. Thanks again.
    – Maxood
    Apr 2, 2012 at 19:23
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    @Maxood: It varies so widely from kid to kid. My daughter got her first tooth at 4 months, but my son didn't get a single tooth until he was 15 months old. I think the average age is around 6-7 months, but it's not unheard-of for kids to get them earlier than that.
    – Meg Coates
    Apr 3, 2012 at 17:09

We used a clean cloth or baby sock wrapped around an ice cube with our kids and grandkids. Worked great.


We use Nelsons teething sachets - they seem to be doing the trick now for the last 2-3 months.

Basically just tap the contents of the sachets in babies mouth (dont worry, they wont choke or gag - the contents will land on their tongue and gums) - baby will then chew the little "crystals/granules".

They seem to do two things:

  1. They distract baby from the pain by giving them something to chew and feel in their mouth
  2. They sooth the pain (which is what you want)

These work much better for us than bonjela and other "rub on" ointments.


Rubbing just a little (drop on the end of a finger) scotch on the gums always worked for us. The bonus is you finish the shot (wink wink)!

  • 2
    -1: Booze is not good for newborns.
    – deworde
    Sep 11, 2012 at 16:41
  • My SO used very strong colonial wine for this similar purpose, despite my vehement protests.
    – T. Sar
    Jul 13, 2017 at 16:34

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