Teething toys are one of the most important toys you can ever buy for your baby. These toys help stimulate the healthier eruption of your baby’s teeth while at the same time help relieve some of the pain and discomfort your baby might experience in relation to tooth eruption. More importantly, because teething toys are, well, toys, they provide additional benefits to the optimum psychomotor and cognitive development of your baby. This is why teething toys remain one of the most common gift suggestions parents and individuals often give to their babies or the babies of an acquaintance.
Unfortunately, choosing the right kind of teething product can be downright challenging. The number of teething baby toys in the market is simply staggering, to say the least. But, fear not because we are here to provide you with the 10 best and most popular teething toys for babies.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Manhattan Toy Winkel
- Sensory Teether Toy
- Ike & Leo Teething Toy
- Reduces Discomfort
- Baby Banana Training Toothbrush
- Dishwasher Friendly
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Teething Toys for Babies
We encourage parents to do their own extensive research, since many teething toys out there do still contain some trace levels of BPA. Even some of the cooling gels and agents used on some products to aid in relief, may leak after extensive use or improper treatment. It can be a lengthy process, but your child’s health is always worth it. Also, as part of our evaluation and suggestion to parents, don’t look for a quick and easy — or cheap — fix! The more you are to do this, the more likely you are to get a product with toxins, or a product that peals and is a choking hazard. Even something like food and medical grade silicone can be deceptive.
Some research suggests simply some TLC as a form of relief to trade off extensive use of teethers. Simply holding your child, speaking to them, rocking them when fussy, or the gentle pressure of your finger in their mouth and on their gums, can be more than enough in conjunction with the teething toys. By far it will make this first transition much simpler and smoother.
Teething is a very common and at times misunderstood phase of development in a child…in much the same ways that growing pains are! Past remedies and treatments for teething ranged from parents putting whiskey on their child’s gums, to allowing them to chew on a leather strap, or a cured piece of meat! In the 70s and 80s, there was the advent of anbesol and children’s tylenol to do the trick!
Luckily, we have evolved more as a society and tend to avoid giving our children toxins as we did in the past! As with many things that have come to light, we can now see teething as an integral learning phase for both parents and children. Not only do teething toys help to alleviate gum pain, the pressure also aids in strengthening the incoming teeth….this is one of the reasons that it is so vital to find a teething toy which can also reaches the back molars as well as the front teeth coming in!
It is even shown that teething toys and pacifiers have been helpful in speech and auditory development. This all has to do with the movement and placement of the infant’s tongue. What a child has in his or her mouth effects what sounds they are able to perceive — discerning each vowel and consonant that comes in more distinctively than older children and adults.
What Determined the Most Popular In Our List
Choosing the most popular teething toy for babies is quite easy. Just look at the number of positive reviews and you should already have an idea of its popularity. Unfortunately, this is not the only thing that you need to consider. Our team of researchers also had to consider the overall safety of the materials used in the design and manufacture of the teething toy. The use of harmful chemicals in the finishing of the product is a big no-no for us. Additionally, we had to look at the overall quality of the teething toy as well as the trustworthiness of the teething toy manufacturer. More importantly, we believe, the best teething toy should be able to provide the necessary sensory and psychomotor development that babies need.
These factors have been carefully considered in each of the 10 teething toys we have included in our list. That is why we are confident that you will also agree with our 10 best and most popular teething toys for babies.
A Look at Your Baby’s Teeth
You can look at your baby’s teething as the process by which his or her very first deciduous teeth break through his or her gums. This usually occurs by the time your baby reaches 6 months old, although it is not uncommon to see babies as young as 3 months and as old as 1 year to have their very first primary, deciduous, baby, or milk tooth. What can be expected is that by 3 years of age, your baby would have already erupted 20 milk or baby teeth. During the first eruption, your baby’s first tooth will most likely appear on the lower front of his or her gums. One to 2 months later, you can expect the upper front teeth.
You may be wondering why we need to have a baby tooth only to replace them with more permanent ones. Well, it’s all about developing the oral cavity of your baby. You see, it is your baby’s milk teeth that will maintain the arch length of his or her jaw. This is crucial because it is in these same places where their permanent teeth will develop. Milk teeth serve to guide the eruption pathway of your baby’s permanent teeth. It also helps in the formation and development of the jaw bones including the jaw muscles.
But, did you know that the most important role milk teeth have to play in your baby’s development is that it serves in the development of his or her speech as well as help improve his or her smile. We as adults are often so conscious about the appearance of our teeth. Among children, this can have a significant impact as well. Moreover, their nutrition may be affected if they don’t have their milk teeth as they will have problems chewing and grinding some of their food.
Now, why do we need a teething toy? Well, remember the baby tooth will be breaking out of the gums leading to inflammation which can be manifested by soreness, swelling, and even some pain. Teething toys serve to relieve the pressure off your baby’s gums. This helps them feel a lot better during the whole teething process. And since we are talking about babies, it is often a lot better to use a teething toy that can also help develop their other senses as well as psychomotor skills. This way, we are tending to the overall development of our babies.
Still thinking of the best teething toy to give as a present to someone you know? You can use our list of the 10 most popular. You will never go wrong.
This is our first criteria for anything that goes in a baby’s mouth. Having said that, “contaminant free” can mean different things, depending on standards and regulations from various consumer safety agencies within, and outside of the United States. We’ve tried to be as helpful as possible by stating each product’s non- contaminants policy, but we did make sure to select products that are BPA free. Most of our picks are also free of contaminants like phthalates, PVC, lead and latex. Some even go so far as to avoid petroleum, which is admirable. However, being completely free of any and all toxins is virtually impossible.
In all honesty, deciding what is safest for your baby requires speaking with your pediatrician. He or she can make recommendations based on your baby’s unique medical and developmental needs. Babies with certain conditions, for example, may need to avoid very specific contaminants, and perhaps even certain shapes and textures that can pose physical hazards Your pediatrician may also recommend specific cleaning and sterilization methods, such as boiling in hot water and air drying, rather than using the dishwasher.
It’s best not to underestimate your baby’s strength, even at just a few months old. Early teethers may have fragile gums, but they can still gnaw through weak, poorly made toys. We want to assure you that we’ve chosen teethers with proven durability, thanks to innovative construction methods and durable materials. Solid constructions can come from numerous processes, such as individual knotting for beads, one-piece construction for loops and beads, or the usage of premium grade silicone.
Premium grade silicone, i.e., 100% medical or food grade silicone is particularly important for water filled teethers since these are meant to be extra soft for very young, sensitive gums. However, water can leak from the unit if the material doesn’t hold up time and time again. That’s why we made sure to only select teething toys made from the highest grade materials. The combination of premium materials and sound manufacturing techniques is the key to making safe, effective products for all your baby’s teething needs.
Teething is arguably the most unpredictable process in a baby’s development. Some babies are born with one or two teeth, others don’t have teeth even by the first year. There’s also no way to predict how long it will take your baby to have a full set of teeth from the time the first ones come in. That means your baby can go through many different stages of teething over a long period of time. Hence, versatility — specifically, adaptability — was one of our primary criteria when we looked at baby teethers and teething toys.
Versatility can be seen in many features, such as beads of different shapes, different grades of thickness and flexibility, and varying textures such as ridges and nubs. Our teether picks encompass one of more of these features to give babies a well-rounded chewing experience that will grow with them, even into the toddler years. Some of our picks are also appropriate for children with oral motor disorders or developmental disorders like autism. However, they should only be used for these purposes upon recommendation from a licensed pediatric specialist.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I’m concerned about products that are made in China for my child, what should I do?
A: We suggest that you do extensive research on each product before you buy it! The concern is understandable since most plastics often still have trace amounts of toxins. There are many products that aren’t made in China, as well as silicone alternatives to plastic; and, also Organic Rubber materials.
Q: How safe is it to put some these products in the freezer or refrigerator?
A: All of them are pretty safe for refrigeration…We don’t suggest freezing of products unless the manufacturer specifically says that it is safe! Most of the materials handle pretty well and temperatures below freezing. Unfortunately, in the case of some gel cooling agents, at low temperatures they can cause the plastic to crack and leak gel out of the product. There’s also the risk of gum damage from placing an extremely hard or ice cold object in a child’s mouth.
Q: What is the best way to clean these products without destroying them in the process?
A: You’ve probably read how many of these products are dishwasher safe….only to find out through experience — your’s or someone else’s — that this isn’t the case! The best bet is to not go too crazy on the cleaning. Use discretion. After each use that you feel it is needed, simply soak the product in the sink with some soap and warm water for one hour, lightly scrub, then rinse off and air dry.
Q: What do I do when teethers stimulate excessive drooling?
A: The excessive drooling is normal at this phase of your child getting their first teeth in. If anything, simply limit the amount of time that your child keeps it in his or her mouth. Time with the teething toy should be alternated with play time and parent child bonding. One alternative when it is time to break up the routine while the child may still be in some discomfort is to offer your finger for your child to suck or gnaw on, as well.
Q: Is it safe to use some of the more traditional methods for teething?
A: I think that it’s best to get advice from your pediatrician or pediatric dentist where this is concerned! There are still a number of traditional teething toys on the market these days — both made of wood, rubber and leather. While there might be less attendant risk factors that plastic and silicone products have, they do have their own drawbacks.
Q: Are there any long-term benefits to teething toys?
A: They pretty much develop a sense of autonomy in your child when it comes to causality, thereby getting a better understanding of their bodies early on. When a pain such as teething occurs and they’re offered a tool to help relieve that, a neural pathway is constructed in the brain — a solution to their problem has been formulated that is literally within their grasp.
Q: Can these be used with teething gels?
A: We certainly understand the desire for parents to give babies added relief through aides like teething gels. Baby teething gels can be rubbed on gums prior to giving your baby a teether. Depending on the shape of the teether, you may even be able to rub in right onto the surface. However, whether or not you should you use a teething gel is another question altogether. This has been a highly controversial topic in recent years, with reports of baby gels containing benzocaine, a common pain reliever in adult products for sensitive teeth. Benzocaine may cause a rare, but deadly condition in which the oxygen carried through the bloodstream is greatly reduced.
There are non-benzocaine formulations, even homeopathic gels that claim to be safe and all-natural. However, the FDA has found numerous ingredients in these formulations, such as belladonna — a known toxic plant. Ultimately, the choice to use a teething gel is up to you, but we recommend making an informed decision after speaking with your pediatrician. After all, we can’t say that all teething gel brands are dangerous, and if anyone would know a safe brand, it would be your child’s doctor.
Q: Are silicone teethers safer than plastic?
A: As a general rule, we would advise going with silicone, although there are other FDA approved thermo polymers that can be made perfectly safe. The benefit to silicone is that’s is extremely durable and flexible at the same time. It’s also freezer-friendly and chills quickly. The safest, highest grade of silicone is medical grade, like Bebe By Me’s cookie teethers. However, 100% food grade silicone has been approved by the FDA as being safe, especially when it’s free from contaminants like BPA, phthalates and PVC.
This is another area where your pediatrician’s input may be needed. Depending on your baby’s overall health, he or she may recommend medical grade silicone, which has the advantage of being the same silicone used in hospitals. Your pediatrician may also recommend specific sterilizing techniques, since germ control is just as important as the grade of material.
Q: Would any of these teethers work for older kids?
A: Quite a few of these teethers do work wonders for older kids with oral motor problems. They’ve even been known to calm down children with developmental disorder when they act out at home or in public. Of course, you should always get your doctor or therapist’s approval beforehand, but we do know that The Sensory University’s Chewy Tubes have been recommended by many developmental disorder specialists. The variety pack is particularly effective since each rod has a different thickness and texture. Kids with autism, for example, may need a really thick, meaty chew to calm them down when they’re at peak frustration levels. In such cases, it’s nice to have different chewing levels to fit your child’s needs.
Q: Is it more beneficial to use a pacifier with these?
A: Pacifier usage is a source of heated debate between parents, especially during teething. Proponents have good intentions, mainly giving the baby as many avenues of pain relief as possible. However, detractors argue that pacifiers cause dental problems such as overbites. While thumbsucking is the main culprit of overbite, the risk is still there with pacifiers.
Of course, there are risks with just about anything in life, so we would be inclined to recommend pacifiers if there were proven teething or oral care benefits. The problem is that there are no proven benefits to using a pacifier over, or in conjunction with a teether. Using frozen teethers and supplementing with small pieces of frozen fruit (as long as your baby is on solids) is just as effective as a pacifier. Plus, you won’t run the risk of misaligned teeth with any of those options.
Q: Are solid teethers better than water-filled ones?
A: The general answer is no, although it depends on your baby’s specific needs. Water-filled teethers are extra soft and pliable, so a lot of parents feel they’re safer for the beginning stage of teething. Then again, babies that start teething at 6 months or older can handle solid silicone teethers without any problems. By “solid”, we don’t mean hard or tough materials, which we definitely don’t recommend for a baby. Soft, chewy silicone can still still be a solid unit in the shape of tubes, beads, etc. Furthermore, most teethers are hollow on the inside, so they’re super gentle with or without water.
In conclusion, the current trend towards solid teethers seems to be more about convenience, since they can easily be sterilized in the dishwasher or even dipped in boiling water. While some sources claim that there are safe dishwasher methods for water-filled teethers, we do not recommend exposing water teethers to intense heat or cold. That’s another issue as well; water-filled teethers are not freezer friendly. So it’s really a matter of what works for you in terms of time and convenience, but one type of teether is not particularly better than the other.
Q: What is the best way to sterilize teethers?
A: Sterilization methods depend on the type of teether, although most parents seem to prefer using the pre-wash cycle on their dishwasher, which steams the dishes prior to washing and rinsing. You can either use only the steam option to sterilize nothing but the teethers, or pull the teethers out from the top rack before your washer proceeds to the wash cycle.
Your best source of information is the manufacturer’s instructions, which may recommend alternate methods such as hand washing with water and dish soap. This is generally the case with water-filled teethers since they can’t be exposed to high heat. You can also use non-toxic baby wipes if the teethers have relatively flat surfaces or shallow ridges. We do, however, recommend checking with your pediatrician if your baby has special needs of medical conditions. They may advise alternate or additional steps, on top of the manufacturer’s instructions.
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