How parents can help their babies teething

A new study provides strong arguments for doing without teething gels and instead relying on the tried and tested teething ring.

For many parents it is hard to bear to see their dear little ones suffering from teething problems. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely spare babies from this inconvenience. But you can definitely give them relief.So-called teething gels and powders are advertised as particularly effective – and harmless to health – for this purpose. However, neither of these assertions can be confirmed in independent studies, on the contrary: a study was recently published in the “British Dental Journal” that certifies that the remedies are both largely ineffective and endanger the small child’s organism. English researchers bought 14 UK-approved teething gels and powders and studied their ingredients. The alarming result is that nine of the products are potentially harmful. In addition: Since the saliva washes the agent away from the gums in a short time, the effect only lasts for a short time, and most of the ingredients are swallowed. Many parents then apply gel or powder again to suppress the recurring pain – and thus unconsciously subject their baby’s organism to large amounts of potentially dangerous substances. alcohol, sugar and lidocaine Already worrying is the fact that six of the products contain alcohol. This can impair the motor and mental development of young children, as studies using breast milk have shown. Two other remedies add sugar to erupting teeth, which is known not to be a good basis for healthy enamel. Six of the teething gels and powders examined achieve the pain-relieving effect – albeit only for a short time – with the anesthetic lidocaine. And that even endangers the lives of babies acutely, as six deaths from an overdose of 2% gels years ago have already shown. This risk also exists with one percent gels. To avoid such risks, parents should refrain from using teething gels and powders. “The teething ring is an alternative that has been tried and tested for thousands of years and has a good effect. Of course, you have to make sure that it cannot release any harmful ingredients,” recommends dentist Dr. Uta Janssen from Berlin-Tempelhof. “In addition, as soon as the first milk teeth have erupted, parents should take their small children to regular dental check-ups. Because even if the milk teeth only have to ‘last’ a few years, their health also influences that of the permanent teeth that follow.”   Foto: Adobe Stock