The teething process can be difficult for both parents and young ones alike. It’s only natural that parents want to protect their children from anything that might be causing them pain ‒ but they don’t always want to treat the problem with pharmaceuticals.
So, many parents look for homeopathic, all-natural solutions for their toddler’s teething problem.
Recently, dental professionals have noticed the growing trend of parents are treating their toddler’s gum pain with a natural teething necklace. Let’s take a closer look at what this alternative ‘healing’ method entails.
What are Teething Necklaces?
Natural teething necklaces are abundantly available and can be purchased for about $20 from boutiques and big-box stores alike.
Part of the reason these necklaces are making such a big splash on the market is that several celebrities have been proponents of the product.
The necklace is made of something called Baltic amber, which was formed over 45 million years ago. It’s an organic fossil resin that’s produced by pine trees native to northern Europe and the Baltic Sea. This unique amber has been used since ancient times as both an ingredient in perfumes and in folk medicine.
People who believe in the healing properties of Baltic amber claim it soothes teething symptoms because it releases succinic acid. Apparently, the substance is absorbed as an analgesic through a child’s skin.
Is There Any Merit to This Homeopathic Treatment?
In short, no. There’s no scientific data that can prove these necklaces are useful in any way as treatments. Conversely, research suggests that this homeopathic healing device actually does much more harm than good.
The Cruel Reality of Teething Necklaces
Upon even the most surface-level investigation, you’ll find that succinic acid won’t be dispersed from your child’s necklaces unless it’s heated at 200 Celsius.
Furthermore, these necklaces are safety hazards.
What’s worse, young children have been strangled by these necklaces. The FDA has warned the public about these amber necklaces, pointing out that they can lead to choking, strangulation, mouth injuries, or infection.
If the piece of jewelry breaks, a small bead might enter a toddler’s airway, causing them to choke. It’s also possible that the necklace can get caught on a child’s crib then wrap too tightly around their neck, causing strangulation.
Then, the jewelry might cut toddlers’ gums – which can lead to an infection.
For further context, studies by researchers from Nova Scotia tested the strangulation risk of 15 amber teething necklaces purchased from retailers in Canada. Their results showed that nearly half failed to open after applying 15 pounds of force for 10 seconds, which is an industry-standard.
Talking to Parents About Teething Necklaces
It’s always challenging to tell parents they’re doing something wrong with raising their children.
Therefore, when you notice a toddler wearing a teething necklace or a parent informs you that they’re utilizing the method, be sensitive to their situation.
Still, as a professional, you can inform them of the dangers that we’ve discussed above. In many cases, most parents will realize your advice is coming from a good place, so they’ll likely take immediate action.
You must provide these parents with a list of viable alternatives. After all, it’s unfair to drop a bomb about the teething necklace with no other solutions in mind.
Here are some practical alternatives to a teething necklace:
- Large plastic toys that are safe for chewing
- Cold or frozen cloths
- Frozen bananas or apples
- Massaging the gums
While we do understand any hesitation about traditional medicine for children, a mild pain reliever won’t do any harm when given to a toddler sparingly.
The Final Verdict on Teething Necklaces
Parents can go to unusual lengths to protect their children from pain. Sometimes they hear about alternative treatments that sound too enticing to pass up.
After all, an ancient analgesic with healing powers catered specifically to teething pain makes for an enticing proposition.
However, as an informed dental professional, you must discourage parents from purchasing these necklaces. It’s then equally as crucial that you provide viable alternatives to help with teething pain symptoms, so parents can take comfort in your care for their toddler.