Natural Teethers | Safest, Nontoxic Options for Babies

It could be said that the teething stage is one of the most challenging periods in a child’s early years. No parent wants to witness their little one in pain, or have to handle an excessively irritable infant.

So, many parents go to the ends of the earth in search of teething remedies to soothe their screaming tot.

What are the safest teethers for babies? Per the US Food and Drug Administration, rubber teethers are the safest teethers for babies. These teethers should not be frozen, but they can be chilled prior to use to aid with inflammation. Teethers with liquid or small pieces or made with plastics should be avoided. 

There are plenty of safe and effective ways to relieve teething pain. Keep reading to learn more about natural teethers, whether they’re recommended, and what experienced parents have to say about them.

Natural Teethers for Babies

Parents and pediatricians alike tend to opt for natural methods of pain relief in young children. It’s important to understand the cost, risk, and reward associated with different forms of teething pain management.

When it comes to natural teethers for babies, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to help you make an educated decision regarding your child’s comfort and well-being. 

What Materials To Consider

Teethers come in all different shapes, sizes, and materials. In general, they’re either made of wood, silicone, or rubber.

Each one of these teether types needs to be thoroughly cleaned and maintained in order to provide a safe teething experience for your child. 

Other mediums frequently used for teething relief include foods, frozen liquids, and Baltic amber. The latter is generally considered unsafe due to the beaded form of most products.

Foods also possess an additional risk of choking and are limited to children six months or older.

Safety Guidelines for Baby Teethers

There are two agencies that regulate teethers in the United States: the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

If the teether is solely intended to soothe a child and not to relieve pain, then it falls under the jurisdiction of the CPSC. However, if it is intended as a pain-relief method or has any medicinal properties, it falls under the jurisdiction of the FDA. 

Wood, silicone, rubber, and amber teethers usually fall under the CPSC and are subject to third-party testing from CPSC-approved laboratories.

Since they’re intended to be mouthed by a toddler, teething toys have to be tested by a third party for compliance with Section 4.22 of the U.S. Toy Standard, ASTM F963-17

Natural Rubber Teethers

A baby boy playing with a strawberry-shaped teether.

Natural rubber teethers are the number one recommended teething material for babies. Natural rubber is a sturdy and easily graspable material for your baby.

It provides resistance to help soothe and strengthen the gums. In addition, it is more bacteria-resistant than some other teethers.

The FDA states that a firm ring of rubber is the ideal teething toy in terms of safety and efficacy. However, it’s important to note that natural rubber is the only rubber that’s safe for a child to chew on.

This means that you can’t just hand them a random rubber item to soothe with. The size of the rubber matters as well since rubber poses a severe choking hazard.

Rubber teethers should be washed often since they are consistently dropped while being mouthed on.

Certain rubber teethers are top-rack dishwasher safe, but you’ll have to look for the manufacturer’s label for clarification. Otherwise, you run the risk of misshaping or damaging the teether.

It’s recommended to use hot water with a mild soap and allow the rubber to air dry completely.

Caaocho All-Stages Teether Fish

The Caaocho All-Stages Teether Fish is made with entirely natural materials and is BPA, PVC, phthalate, and nitrosamine free.

Made of 100% natural rubber, it is environmentally friendly, and there’s no harm to nature from its sourcing. Its single-piece construction is designed to prevent the accumulation of bacteria. 

This teether was made to help sensory development by offering a textured body for tactile exploration. In addition, it’s the perfect size for your baby’s hands and just flexible enough for the baby to twist and bend. 

These textured patterns offer height differentials that are tall enough to reach molars. It’s designed to be effective for every stage of teething from the front to the back of the mouth.

Gnawing on the teether provides a massaging effect to the baby’s gums, offering soothing relief from the pressure of teething. If the teether is chilled, not frozen, it can also help gum inflammation. 

Oli & Carol Vegetable-Shaped Teether

The Oli & Carol Vegetable-Shaped Teether is handmade from 100% natural rubber from the sap of Malaysian Hevea trees. It’s PVC, BPA, phthalate, and nitrosamine free. Additionally, it’s painted with nontoxic food-grade dyes.

Its single-piece design discourages harmful bacterial growth. There are no holes or deep divots to house bacteria or mold. It can be wiped clean with warm, soapy water and a cloth.

This teether was made with vivid colors in a recognizable shape to help stimulate the baby’s developing senses.

The forms were chosen to encourage children to begin a healthy relationship with fruits and vegetables. Its circular design makes it easy to grip, turn, and chew.

Wood Teether for Baby

A baby girl with pigtails on top of her head chews on a wooden teether.

While there are many types of teethers, wood as a teething material is among the highest-rated and most purchased.

The most common type of wood used to make teething toys is maple, but they will always be made from hardwoods rather than softwoods. 

The largest concern with wooden teethers is the type of oil or wax used to seal the wood. This process prevents chips and splinters.

However, not all oils are safe for your baby’s gums. It’s best to make sure the oils used to seal the products are food-grade wood sealants, such as tung oil, walrus oil, and beeswax.

Wood has antibacterial properties that make it an ideal teething toy. Wooden teethers should be washed with warm water and mild dish soap and then hand-dried.

Make sure never to soak your wooden teether as it can tamper with the sealant, swell the wood, and cause splintering. 

Promise Babe 11-Piece Organic Wood Teethers

The Promise Babe 11-Piece Organic Wood Teethers set is made of eco-friendly beech wood. It’s handmade without toxic paints or substances.

Additionally, it’s made of raw wood with no wax or oils to seal it. So, These teethers should be cleaned with a damp washcloth. 

These teethers are designed to allow a baby’s fingers to slip through the center hole for an easy grasp. It comes in a set of 11 random pieces shaped like different animals and objects.

These teethers can be strapped to a pacifier clip as well for easy travel. 

Mali Wear Wooden Teether/Rattle Combo

The Mali Wear Wooden Teether is made of natural wood and is free of phthalates, latex, lead, and BPA.

It’s sanded and does not contain any oils or sealants. This means that you should avoid heat and hot water as they may cause damage to the teether. 

This teether can also be used as a rattle, which keeps your baby’s attention longer than traditional teethers.

In addition, this is a Montessori-style teething toy, which means it supports early motor skills in addition to easing discomfort caused by teething. 

Silicone Teether Safe for Baby

A baby girl lying in her crib chewing on a silicone donut teether.

Silicone teethers are the most commonly sold teething material on the market. The silicone used in teethers is food grade, meaning it’s the same silicone that your kitchen utensils are made of. It is considered a generally safe nontoxic substance. 

Silicone can take on a variety of shapes and textures. In addition, it can be colored brighter to grab your baby’s attention. Silicone is durable and malleable, meaning that it’s not too hard on baby’s gums and will last a long time with proper care. 

Silicone teethers can be cleaned with mild dish soap and warm water followed by a towel dry. Some of these teethers are even top-rack dishwasher safe. 

Sperric 5-Pack Baby Teething Toys

This pack of teething toys is made of premium food-grade silicone. This means that it’s non-toxic and FDA-approved. It’s also free of BPA, latex, and PVC. They’re made in a GMP-certified facility to monitor safety and quality. 

These adorable silicone teething toys are designed after various fruits and animals. They’re soft and flexible, making them perfect for teethers of all ages. Each piece is textured differently to give your baby an opportunity to explore. 

Haakaa Smiling Owl Teether

The Haakaa Smiling Owl Teether is made from 100% food-grade silicone. It’s BPA, PVC, and phthalate free in addition to being non-toxic, odorless, and long-lasting.

This product should be cleaned with warm soapy water but never boiled, steamed, or sterilized. 

The Smiling Owl Teether is designed for children three months or older and is easy to hold. Its textured surface provides relief to your child’s gums and promotes sensory development.

There are no joints, cracks, or edges that would encourage bacterial growth. 

Homemade Teething Toys for Babies

There are many cost-effective teethers that you can make with things just lying around your home. From foods to frozens, here are a few homemade teething toys for babies:

  • Breastmilk Popsicles: Breastmilk popsicles are a free alternative to sugar-filled popsicles, but they have the same quick-melting anti-inflammatory effect. 
  • Baked Teething Biscuits: Same effect as store-bought teething biscuits, but these can be made at home in bulk to reduce cost and improve quality of ingredients. 
  • Frozen Washcloths: Place a wet washcloth in the freezer, and then give it to your baby to chew on. Make sure the washcloth is clean with no loose threads. 

Are Teethers Good for Babies?

Yes, baby teethers are good for babies. Most teethers offer an effective way to soothe pain and mitigate fussiness.

Just make sure that your child’s teether is appropriate for their age and made of safe materials and that maintenance directions are followed. 

Teether for Baby: Disadvantages

As wonderful as teethers can be for parents, they also pose disadvantages for your child.

Babies can form attachments to objects like teethers and often do. Items that offer them comfort in times of pain or distress are the most likely to become a dependency.

This is why we so often see blankets, pacifiers, and stuffed animals doted on by toddlers. In addition, teethers can have negative impacts on oral health.

The long-term utilization of pacifiers and teething toys can cause misalignment as baby teeth grow in. However, it should be noted that this only occurs after continuous and repeated exposure. 

Finally, teething toys can interfere with a baby’s ability to breastfeed.

When offered a teething toy, the baby will innately begin learning how to suck on it. This can cause nipple confusion where the child is unable to distinguish between the two and latch effectively.

Types of Baby Teethers To Avoid

Not all baby teethers are created equally. In fact, there are some that experts recommend avoiding altogether. 

  • Teethers with attached small parts
  • Teethers with liquid or beaded fillings
  • Teethers that aren’t regulated, such as homemade teethers
  • Teethers made of plastic or PVC

Frozen Teething Ring

At one point, freezing your little one’s teething ring in the freezer prior to giving it to them was thought to be the best way to relieve pain and inflammation in their gums.

However, studies have since shown that frozen teething rings can cause bruising on your baby’s sensitive gums. For this reason, it’s recommended to chill the teether in the refrigerator rather than freeze it.

When To Use Teether for Baby

You can use a baby teether during the teething phase of infancy and into the toddler years. Teething starts around 6 months of age and is typically over by about 3 years old.

Teethers can be used when your child starts to display outward symptoms of teething, like fussiness and putting everything in their mouth.

How Many Teethers Does a Baby Need?

Logistically speaking, you only need one teether. However, anyone with kids can tell you that they get bored easily. So having two or three teethers to alternate between can be extremely beneficial.

Try to include a variety in your collection with different textures, shapes, sizes, and materials. 

How Long Do Babies Use Teethers?

Babies typically only use teethers while their teeth are coming in. This happens most impactfully between 6 and 12 months.

While many parents continue to use teethers for the entirety of their child’s teething phase, doctors recommend discontinuing use after teeth have broken through the gums into the oral cavity. 

Related Questions:

What Is the Liquid in Teething Rings? 

Most often, the liquid in teething rings is entirely harmless. It’s typically a water mixture of glycerin or salt.

According to the Poison Control Center, it is a low-risk substance, meaning that your child is not likely to suffer severe symptoms in the event of exposure.

What Are the Worst Teeth for Babies to Cut? 

Molars are the worst teeth for babies to cut. These large, dull teeth are the most painful for babies when they erupt. You can expect this between 12 and 14 months. 

Can Teething Cause Runny Nose and Fever? 

No, teething does not directly cause a runny nose or fever. While this is commonly believed, there are not many studies linking these symptoms to teething.

Closing Thoughts

Teething rings come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. While some are recommended over others, teethers are generally safe for your child.

Cooling the teether in the fridge prior to use can help soothe inflammation and reduce fussiness.