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Natural Remedies for Teething Pain

Posted Nov 22 2009 10:01pm
Dear Dr. Ellie:

Do you have any natural recommendations for teething pain? I've seen a few, hyland teething tablets (homeopathic), clove oil, vanilla extract-- but wanted your opinion if any of these are better than an other.

Thanks, K

Hi K,

This is a very good question and I would like to post this on my blog if that is OK with you. I would be very careful at this time when new baby teeth erupt - it is a vital time for oral health in the future. I do not know of a "safe" teething get - and I am suspicious of many of the "herbal" ones. I have an unusual number of messages from distressed mothers - using herbal teething gels (including the one you mention) - who are breastfeeding, being careful mothers - yet their infants end up with dental decay. I would love to discover if there is an connection between herbal teething gels and tooth decay.

Moms everywhere
! - we will be sending out a survey soon to try and discover what teething gel you used - and if your child suffered dental damage. No matter what you use for teething pain, I would suggest you simultaneously take pro-active, preventive action.

Consider wiping your child's mouth with a solution of granular xylitol in water at intervals through the day. This is the time when the first teeth are contaminated with tooth bacteria - and tooth bacteria are either healthy ones or destructive ones. Parents are normally the "donors" of the bacteria that infect a baby's tooth as it erupts. If your child is in day care or in the care of someone else - be aware that bacteria travel in droplets of saliva and can easily infect your child's mouth. Once the first tooth is "colonized" by a strain of bacteria - they will cover and "infect" the next teeth that erupt in the mouth...etc....etc. If someone has a high level of tooth-decaying bacteria they can infect your baby (think about grandparents kissing your baby next weekend ! Don't stop the kissing - but be pro-active - see below!). Xylitol will wipe out harmful cavity-producing bacteria before they can take hold in your child's mouth. "Xylitol-resistant" mouth bacteria are protective of teeth - in other words, xylitol is "pro-biotic" for healthy oral bacteria.

The same sticky bacteria line the ear tubes that go from the throat into the ears. Research shows that babies who have frequent exposure to xylitol have 42 percent less middle ear infections. So enjoy the family gatherings - but protect your baby's teeth each day. Dissolve a teaspoon of granular xylitol in a little water and wipe 3-4 times a day around the mouth with a soft cloth or toothbrush. Spiffies are a xylitol cloth for this purpose and they would be very convenient for travel - see

Happy Thanksgiving and please let me know if you have any other questions,

Best Wishes,
Ellie Phillips DDS
26 Corporate Woods
Rochester, NY 14623
(585) 272-1270
This site is privately and personally sponsored, funded and supported by Dr. Ellie Phillips. There are no financial or personal ties to Johnson and Johnson or to Pfizer Corporation and the endorsement of their products is based on clinical observation, and independant ADA endorsement. To contact Dr. Ellie, email
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