Tips for Soothing Your Teething Baby

Although some babies may experience very few or even no teething symptoms, many do – and it can be difficult to watch your teething baby suffer through this uncomfortable stage. Help your teething baby if they are feeling irritable or look to be in pain with our teething remedies and discover our extra tips on how to soothe your teething baby.

Home Remedies to Help Soothe Your Teething Baby

Try these teething remedies to help soothe your baby’s teething pain or discomfort:

  1. Give Your Baby a Chilled Teething Ring A teething ring or toy (or preferably several) is a must-have once your baby’s teeth start poking through. Some can even be chilled for extra relief. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure a teething ring is suitable for chilling and to find out how long it needs to stay in the fridge. Never put a teething ring in the freezer, as this could make it too hard or cold for your baby’s soft gums. Don’t forget to clean and sterilise teething rings or toys regularly. Never tie a teething ring (or anything else, like a dummy) on a cord or ribbon around your baby’s neck, to avoid the risk of strangulation.

  2. Offer a Crunchy (Healthy) Treat for Teething Relief Once you’ve introduced your baby to solid foods, you can help soothe your teething baby’s gums with textured finger foods like pieces of apple or carrot. A crunchy breadstick or crust of bread could also bring relief from those teething symptoms. Avoid giving your little one sugary foods, which can quickly decay his or her brand new teeth. Rusks and teething biscuits aren’t recommended either, because they also usually contain sugar. Never leave your child alone with food and always supervise them closely while eating, to prevent the risk of choking.

  3. Use a Cold Wet Flannel to Soothe Sore Gums Take a clean flannel and submerge it in cold water, wring it out until it’s just damp not dripping wet. Fold it so that it’s a smaller size and give it to your baby to chew on to help soothe their gums. Don't leave your child unattended while sucking or chewing on the flannel. This can be a choking hazard.

  4. Massage Your Baby’s Gums You can help provide some teething relief by carefully massaging those sore, little gums. Sit with your baby, and gently massage the gums in circular motions with a clean finger.

  5. Offer Your Child a Drink of Cool Water If your baby has already started drinking plain water, a drink of water isn’t just a refreshing thirst-quencher, it’s also one of the most natural teething remedies there is. Sipping on any kind of cool liquid can bring teething pain relief. Water is all your child needs, but if you want a bit more variety make sure any other drinks you give your baby are sugar-free.

  6. Wipe Away the Dribble to Prevent Irritation One of the common signs of teething is constant dribbling. This can give your baby a sore rash on the chin or around the mouth. Gently wipe the dribble from your baby’s mouth from time to time to help prevent pain or soreness associated with a skin rash or irritation.

  7. Give Your Baby Plenty of Cuddles Make sure your baby gets lots of hugs. Sometimes, the biggest comfort for a teething baby can be cuddle time with Mum or Dad. Pick a comfortable chair, and rock your baby gently. This will provide some quiet time for hugs and comfort, while also giving you both some much-needed rest.

  8. Distract Your Child with Play Taking your little one’s mind off their teething woes is another way to help your teething baby. Try talking, singing action songs or encouraging your child to play with their favourite game. If you’re travelling in the car, movement may be restricted but you can still get good mileage out of old favourites like ‘I-spy’ or ‘The Wheels on the Bus’.

  9. Ask Your Child’s Doctor About Pain Relief Medicine If you’re concerned that your baby’s teething discomfort can’t be soothed with any of the above methods, ask your child’s doctor for advice on using teething gels, liquids or pain relief medicine to help with your baby’s teething symptoms. Always follow the dosage instructions that come with the medicine. If you aren’t sure, ask your GP or pharmacist.

How to Soothe Your Teething Baby at Night

Your baby might wake in the night due to teething pain. If this happens, do your best to comfort your little one without getting them too excited or awake. Here are some ways you might be able to do this:

  • Keep the lights dim

  • Talk softly

  • If your baby is still breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, a quick feed may be comforting.

Tip: Try giving your baby a bath before bed to help distract from the pain. A bath is calming for babies at any time, but particularly at night when getting ready for bed.

Teething Treatments: What to Avoid

Every baby is different when it comes to teething. Some grow teeth with no pain or discomfort at all, while others may find it more uncomfortable. It’s only natural to want to help your little one when they are in pain, but certain things should be avoided when it comes to teething pain:

Teething jewellery. There is no evidence to support that using amber jewellery can help reduce teething pains. More importantly, these types of jewellery are a choking and/or strangulation hazard and should not be used under any circumstances.

Foods and drinks containing lots of sugar. Avoid sugary foods and drinks as they may cause tooth decay, even if your child only has a few teeth.

Unlicensed homeopathic gels. There is no proof that homeopathic teething gels are effective. If you do use one, make sure it’s licensed for use in the UK. Some unlicensed homeopathic gels advertised online have been linked to serious side effects.


Symptoms of Baby Teething: How to Recognise the Signs

When to See the Doctor

All sorts of things are often put down to teething – rashes, crying, bad temper, runny noses, extra dirty nappies. Be careful not to explain away potential signs of illness by assuming it’s ‘just teething’. At the end of the day, you know your baby best.

Symptoms like diarrhoea and fever are sometimes attributed to teething, but this hasn’t been scientifically proven, and other complaints may also cause the same symptoms. If your baby is showing these or any other symptoms that you’re concerned about, it’s best to let your doctor know or call 111 just to be on the safe side.

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Looking After Your Baby’s Teeth

From the moment your baby’s first tooth appears, you should brush your baby’s teeth. It is important to have a brushing routine as more teeth start coming through. This will help to make sure the teeth are brushed properly every time. Don’t worry if you don’t manage to brush much at first, the most important thing is getting your baby used to brushing their teeth as part of their daily routine.

Brushing Teeth

Here are some top tips for brushing your little one’s teeth:

  • Only a tiny smear of toothpaste is required for babies and toddlers up to 3 years old. Transition to a pea-sized amount for children aged 3 to 6 years.

  • Over time, you can start being more thorough when brushing your child’s teeth. It’s important to brush them twice a day: just before bed and another time that fits into your routine.

  • Brush the teeth in small circles, covering all the surfaces. Try to get your child to spit the toothpaste out afterwards. There’s no need to rinse with water, as this will wash away the fluoride.

There are a number of ways to position your baby when brushing teeth. You might like to try sitting your little one on a changing mat on the floor, on your lap, or in a baby chair. Always supervise toothbrushing and never leave a baby or small child alone with either a toothbrush or toothpaste.

Tip: Not every child enjoys having their teeth brushed. You might like to try turning the experience into a fun game, or brushing your own teeth at the same time and then helping your child finish theirs.

Going to the Dentist

Once your baby starts growing teeth, it’s important that they have regular check-ups at the dentist. NHS dental treatment is free for children, but not all dentists will take on new NHS patients. To get your child used to going to the dentist, it can also be a good idea to take them with you to your own dental appointments.

Call your local clinic or NHS England on 0300 311 22 3, or send an email to to find a dentist.

Sugar and Tooth Decay

Sugar is the leading cause of tooth decay. You can help protect your child’s teeth by selecting foods and drinks that don’t contain any added sugars. Lollipops and sweet drinks in a formula bottle are particularly harmful as they bathe teeth in sugar for extended periods of time. Acid found in drinks like fruit juice and squash can also damage your child’s teeth in the long run.

While they may be sugary, the sugars found in whole fruits are less likely to cause tooth decay than those found in fizzy drinks and sweets. Overall, the safest drinks to give your little one to protect his or her teeth are milk and water.

If you’re looking to cut down the amount of sugar in your child’s diet to prevent tooth decay, you may find the following tips useful:

  • When your baby starts to eat solid foods, you could try to encourage savoury foods and drinks with no sugar. Check labels to see whether pre-prepared baby foods like rusks and baby drinks contain sugar.

  • Instead of reaching for the biscuits or sweets, offer alternative ways to spend time, like finger painting.

  • At bedtime or during the night, only give your child breast milk, formula or cooled boiled water.

FAQs at a Glance

It can be hard to watch your little one suffer, luckily there are a number of things you can do to help: massaging their gums; a chilled teething ring; a sip of cool water; a cold, wet flannel; plenty of cuddles.

The Bottom Line

Teething can sometimes be a challenging phase for your baby and you, but it doesn’t last forever! Look at our teething timeline to find out when your baby might start teething, how long the teething stage could last, and which teeth are likely to appear when.

Every child is different, and so is every tooth! Some of the teething pain relief tips and remedies above may work better than others for your little one. You might also find that different soothing methods are more effective at different times. Hang in there!

How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS).The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.

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