Best Teethers for Baby

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best baby teethersIf you’ve ever had a toothache, you know why babies are sometimes a little fussy while teething. Although it was once common to blame mild illnesses on teething, today we know that teething mostly makes babies irritable, although occasionally their temperature may be slightly elevated.

If your baby is really sick, look for another cause. But if your infant’s only symptoms are swollen gums, fussiness and drooling, reach for a teething ring or other teether. You’ll want to be sure that it’s one that is safe and effective for baby’s teething discomfort.

The great thing about teething rings is that they are inexpensive, so you can try out several without making a big investment. When you discover a type that you like, you can buy duplicates so that you can easily find one when you need it.

Here are some good baby teething toys to consider.

*All product links in this article will take you to the latest prices on Amazon.com, scroll down for our in-depth reviews below.

What to Know About Teething

Although we commonly speak of cutting teeth, teeth don’t actually cut through gums. They sort of rub their way through, gradually pushing tissue out of the way. A better term is to speak of a tooth “erupting†through the gum, but common usage will probably remain “cutting teeth.â€

Although occasionally a baby will be born with a tooth, the appearance of a tooth before three months of age is rare, and most infants get their first little chopper somewhere between four and seven months of age.

You’ll be able to see the whiteness of the tooth through the gum for quite a while before it breaks through. A few babies don’t get any teeth until they are a year old or even older.

Acquiring teeth early or late doesn’t mean anything, really. It’s probably an inherited trait and doesn’t mean that a child is more or less advanced that his or her peers.

The first two teeth to be cut are usually the middle bottom, technically called the lower central incisors. They are followed by the middle top, called the upper central incisors. Because the top teeth are larger, they may cause more discomfort than the lower ones.

The lateral incisors that are next to the middle teeth on both bottom and top will come in next, not in any particular order. Then, before the canines come in, babies start to cut their first molars.

If you’ve heard that molars are more difficult to get through the gum than incisors, you’ve heard correctly. In addition to drooling and fussing, babies may pull at an ear or rub their cheeks against you. They may also refuse food, even the breast.

After the first molars, your child will probably cut the canine teeth, also known as cuspids. Then come the “big†molars, or second molars. Finally your child will have a full complement of teeth, but it probably won’t happen until almost three years of age.

Teething Remedies

Before we knew much about viruses and bacteria, parents often blamed illnesses on teething. In fact, it was once believed that babies could die from teething. We know now that teething seldom causes any significant symptoms.

Still, you may have seen products in the store designed to relieve teething pain. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against using such measures.

Teething medications can contain substances such as belladonna or benzocaine, which can have adverse effects on infants. Also, baby’s saliva will wash such medications away from the gums quickly.

Perhaps you have had a friend or member of the family suggest another measure for relieving baby’s teething pain. Be very cautious about following advice from people with no medical background.

Home remedies such as rubbing aspirin or alcohol on the gums are not recommended by pediatricians and could have negative effects on your baby’s health. Aspirin should not be given to babies due to the possibility of Reyes syndrome. And alcohol should not be given to babies in any form or by any method.

One time-tested method of dealing with teething pain is safe and reliable. That is to rub the gums with a clean finger. That gets old fairly quickly, though, and modern moms have many more things to do.

If you have a teething baby, you will want to invest in a few teething rings or other teethers. Of course, just as with any toy or piece of equipment, you will want to keep a close eye on your child during use.

Teething Toys Safety

Safety is a parent’s main concern when buying for a baby. That is especially true when buying something that babies are going to have in their mouths.

Like most products intended for use by children, teethers are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). They must be tested by an independent lab certified by the CPSC.

They must meet the ASTM F 963-16 requirements, and teethers have their own section, which is 4.22. In addition, they must meet the standards for the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA).

That doesn’t mean you can feel good about every teether on the market. You may have heard of a substance called BPA, or bisphenol A. This is a chemical used to harden plastic.

Some authorities believe that BPA disrupts the endocrine system and could present a special hazard to developing children. Responding to these concerns, the Food and Drug Administration banned BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, but not in other baby products such as teethers.

Most manufacturers have been proactive and have made their teethers BPA-free, but some issues remain. One 2016 study showed that even baby teethers labeled BPA-free leached out low levels of BPA and other potentially harmful chemicals when placed in water. Each parent must balance concerns about possible risks with the benefits of using a teething ring.

Teethers that are filled with liquid or gel raise a different set of concerns. If a hole, however tiny, develops in the teether, bacteria could get in and contaminate the liquid or gel, which could then be sucked out by baby.

Still, teethers that are gel- or liquid-filled are favored by many parents because they chill nicely and the softer feel makes for a pleasant chewing experience for infants. If you opt for a filled teether, you should check it before every use for any visible punctures or other damage.

Speaking of chilling, pediatricians do not recommend placing teethers in the freezer, because they can get so hard that chewing on them could cut baby’s lips and gums.

Instead, they recommend placing them in the fridge. Teethers made of silicone will not get really hard in the freezer, however.

Teethers should be cleaned regularly, preferably after each use. Soap and water should do an adequate job on most. Some teething rings can be placed in the dishwasher.

It is usually not recommended that you boil teethers or place them in your sterilizer, but consult your product packaging for definitive information.

Best Teethers for Babies

The teething ring that you ultimately choose will depend upon your personal preferences. How picky are you about exposing your baby to chemicals?

Do you want a single-purpose teether or a multi-purpose one? How important is ease of cleaning? Keep those factors in mind, and read on!

Nuby Icy Bites Keys Teether

What baby wouldn’t like a personal set of keys? That’s part of the attraction for this cute teething toy. It also offers a variety of textures and a range of squeezability for the ultimate in teething comfort.

The teether is filled with Nuby’s PurIce that chills in the fridge to cool and soothe sore gums. The keys are dishwasher safe but also can be cleaned with simple soap and water.

Nuby has been making products for families since 1970. Nuby products are distributed in 155 countries, and the company has an active philanthropic arm that supports causes such as Down Syndrome awareness and literacy for deaf children.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Designed to Be Chilled: The teething keys are filled with PurIce so you can put them in the fridge.

Safe for Baby. This teething toy is BPA-free and also free of phthalates, PVC and latex.

Colorful. It can even be used for color identification practice with older babies.

Easy to Hold. Babies can hold on to the ring, and many enjoy shaking it and manipulating it as well, so it is good for practicing fine motor control.

Inexpensive. It’s so reasonably priced that you can buy two, one for the fridge and one for baby.

Easy to Clean. It’s dishwasher safe, or you can dunk in some soap and water.

 

Cons:

Hard for Some Babies to Use. Some purchasers report that their babies had trouble gripping the ring and getting the soft part of the key in their mouths.

Must Watch for Ruptures. Since the keys are filled with a liquid or gel-type substance, you must watch carefully to make sure that all surfaces are intact.


BeginAgain Ring Teether

Sometimes simplicity is best. This toy won’t make your baby wiggle with excitement, but it is a handsome teether that you can feel good about. It’s made of natural beech wood circled by a ring of resin.

But here’s the detail that makes a difference to some parents. The resin is made from cornstarch, so there’s no worry about dangerous chemicals, and the ring is compostable.

The toy has a natural vanilla scent, and the ring comes apart so that the part that baby chews on can be sanitized in the dishwasher. It’s available in green, pink and blue. BeginAgain also makes a set of chewable keys from the same materials.

BeginAgain is based in Fort Collins, Colorado. It specializes in materials that are sustainably harvested and eco-friendly. This teether is made in the United States. It has received a Gold Award from the National Parenting Product Awards (NAPPA).

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Safe for Baby. All natural materials mean an extra margin of safety for babies.

Easy to Hold. The simple design makes the ring easy to grasp.

Eco-friendly. All parts of the toy will decompose naturally without releasing harmful chemicals.

Easy to Clean. Resin ring is top shelf dishwasher safe.

 

Cons:

Expensive. This teether is more expensive than those made from the usual materials.

Low Interest Level. This toy simply doesn’t interest some babies.


Comotomo Silicone Baby Teether

Is it a teething toy or a miniature piece of abstract art? This teether by Comotomo is bound to make adults smile. Babies may not appreciate its whimsical look but will grab it and use it to massage their gums.

It’s well-designed as it does not have to be held a certain way, and the finger-like extensions provide natural massaging action for baby’s gums. Made of silicone, it’s soft and hygienic. It’s available in vibrant orange or blue.

Comotomo is the maker of popular baby bottles. It is a unique company in that it makes only bottles and teethers. It’s also a new company, dating to 2008, but with a motto that all of its products should be “Better Than Good.â€

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Easy to Hold. The ring is easy for baby to hold on to.

Inexpensive. Reasonable price means that you can buy an extra.

Unique Design. The rubbery fingers are long enough to reach molars but not long enough to choke on.

Easy to Sterilize. Because it’s made of silicone, it can be microwaved, boiled or placed on the top rack of the dishwasher for cleaning.

Safe for Baby. This toy is free of BPA, PVC and phthalates.

 

Cons:

Picks Up Fuzz. Most items made of silicone have an affinity for fuzz and lint, and this item may require frequent cleaning or at least frequent brush-offs.


Baby Banana Training Toothbrush and Teether

A teething toy that also sparks an interest in tooth brushing? This product is pure genius. Inspired by a dental hygienist, this teether builds upon baby’s interest in seeing others brush their teeth.

The soft, rubbery silicone is easy on gums and free of harmful chemicals. It actually removes milk residue and food particles from baby’s mouth as well as paving the way for a real toothbrush later on. It’s dishwasher safe, too.

It’s available in different colors, although most users go for the classic yellow. The company says that the item is freezer safe. Although pediatricians do not recommend freezing teethers because they may get too hard, this silicone product stays relatively soft in the freezer.

According to the company website, Baby Banana had its beginnings in 2001 when a toddler fell with his toothbrush in his mouth, injuring the soft palate.

The child’s grandmother and aunt, a dental hygienist, were inspired to create a softer toothbrush for infants and toddlers. Baby Banana remains largely a family business in spite of its success. It also produces other teethers, toothbrushes and toothpaste for children.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Easy to Hold. The banana peel loops make this toy easy to grasp.

Medium-Priced. Although higher in price than some toys for teething, this dual purpose teether is worth the money.

Unique Design. Besides being super cute, this teether’s nubby brushes provide gentle massaging action.

Easy to Sterilize. This silicone product can be boiled or placed on the top rack of the dishwasher for cleaning.

Safe for Baby. This toy is free of BPA, latex and phthalates.

 

Cons:

Picks Up Fuzz. Like most items made of silicone, this teether picks up fuzz and may require frequent cleaning.


Rainbow Sensory Silicone Teether

Give your baby the gift of “chewelry†with this adorable teething ring. The beads are made of pure silicone for safety and soft chewing pleasure.

They are strung on a strong cord, and the circle is just the right size for baby to grip, while it is small enough not to pose any type of hazard.

It can be washed with soap and water or put in the top rack of the dishwasher. It can also be refrigerated to provide baby with a cooling chew.

This teether is a product of Blue Rabbit. Jason and Bonnie Chan created this company at a time when their daughter was fascinated with making jewelry and their son was in the chewing stage.

They realized that they could satisfy both of their children’s needs with safe silicone beads.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Easy to Hold. The circle shape is a natural for a baby to grab and hold.

Vibrant Colors. This product is made of beads in all colors of the rainbow.

Easy to Sterilize. This silicone product can be placed on the top rack of the dishwasher for cleaning.

Safe for Baby. This toy is free of BPA, cadmium, lead, PVC and phthalates.

 

Cons:

High-End. This item is higher in price than most teethers, but it is still affordable.

May Pick Up Fuzz. Most silicone products tend to pick up fuzz and lint.


Sophie la Girafe Teether

For more than fifty years, French children have been loving their Sophie la Girafe toys. In recent years there have been more Sophies sold in France than there have been babies born.

Also, the toy has become very popular in the United States and in other countries. Sophie is often spotted being played with by the children of celebrities.

The original Sophie is made of 100% natural rubber derived from sustainable forests of Hevea rubber trees. The original Sophie can be used as a teether, but there is another model designed especially for teething that is also made of pure rubber and is easier to clean.

This version adds two rings to the toy, one featuring ridges and one with nubby bumps. It’s also smaller than the original Sophie.

Sophie the Girafe was created by the Delacoste Company but is now produced by the Vulli company. Vulli prides itself on being eco-friendly and on maintaining high safety standards.

It also sells other Sophie-themed products, including Sophie collections that would make great shower gifts.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Easy to Hold. The S-shape is easy for baby to grasp and manipulate.

Safe for Baby. This toy is free of BPA, latex, lead and phthalates.

Cute and Recognizable. Those in the know will recognize your Sophie toy.

 

Cons:

High-End. This item is much higher in price than most teethers.

Low Interest Level. Since this toy features muted colors and doesn’t make noise, it doesn’t interest some babies.

Must Be Cleaned by Hand. Natural rubber should be cleaned with water and a soft cloth.


EZ Grip Teether by Innobaby

Baby will be able to get a grip with this teether by Innobaby. Its barbell design allows baby to grab hold and hold on for a long time. That’s good news for parents, since they are the ones in charge of picking up and cleaning dropped teethers.

Innobaby has several models, but this one provides an especially stimulating chewing experience. Made of TPE (thermoplastic elastomer), this toy is soft yet has exceptional durability. It is ventilated for safety and has won several awards from parenting groups.

Innobaby is based in Chicago, Illinois. It was created in 2006 by two moms, Jee and Kristen, who had each separately developed products for babies and who then decided to pool their ideas.

The company makes food storage products, bottles and sippy cups and wearable items, as well as teethers.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Easy to Hold. The barbell shape is easy for baby to grasp and improves motor skills.

Safe for Baby. This toy is free of BPA, PVC, lead and phthalates.

Reasonably Priced. This item is is in the low-to-moderate price range.

Easy to Sterilize. This teether can be placed on the top rack of the dishwasher for cleaning.

 

Cons:

May Be Too Flexible. Some users said that this teether is extremely soft, and their babies preferred harder ones.

Low Interest Level. Some babies don’t engage with this toy.


Winkel by Manhattan Toy

What is a Winkel? Made by Manhattan Toy, it’s a teether, a rattle and a sensory experience all in one. Created of multi-color loops that interweave in a fascinating pattern, the Winkel is sure to entrance a baby and probably will engage older siblings, too.

There are beads inside the centerpiece that create a soft rattle. Made of soft BPA-free plastic, the Winkel can be put in the refrigerator to provide a cooler chewing experience for baby.

Manhattan Toy makes almost a dozen variations of the Winkel. Some are created to look like an animal, insect or bird. Some feature a sports ball at the center.

Manhattan Toy has a fascinating back story. It was founded by Francis Goldwyn, the son of movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn. Its first hit was a brightly colored stuffed dinosaur.

When Goldwyn sold the company, the new owners moved it to Minneapolis, which is its home today. Manhattan Toy is still known for its lively designs and bright colors. It also prides itself on meeting all safety recommendations from the U.S., Canada and the European Union.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Not Quickly Outgrown. Babies will enjoy playing with the Winkel even when they aren’t teething.

Easy to Grasp. Multiple loops make it easy to hold on to.

Safe for Baby. This toy is made of plastic that is free of BPA.

Reasonably Priced. This item is a little high for a teether, but it is really more than a teether. .

 

Cons:

Product Recall. One version of the Winkel, the Colorburst, was recalled in July 2017 due to concerns that the plastic tubes were brittle and might break. Other models were not affected.

Not Easy to Sterilize. The manufacturer recommends surface washing only.


Munch Mitt by Malarkey Kids

And now for something really quite different! The Munch Mitt is a mitten with areas of nubby silicone for baby to chew on. Just put the mitten on baby and watch the action begin.

The fabric is a water-resistant cloth that won’t get soaked with baby’s drool. The mitt can be flipped to fit either the right or the left hand. It also makes a crinkly sound to help entertain baby.

It comes with a travel bag that doubles as a wash bag. Put the mitt inside, and it can safely go into the washer and even into the dryer, as long as you use low heat. It should be washed regularly.

The Munch Mitt was created by a “mompreneur†when her baby began to have teething woes. Her company, Malarkey Toys, also produces Buddy Bibs, a bib with a built in animal toy that can hold a pacifier.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Won’t Be Dropped. A Velcro strap secures the mitt so that it can’t be dropped.

Safe for Baby. The silicone used in the mitt is BPA and phthalate free, and the mitt meets all U.S. and Canadian safety regulations.

 

Cons:

Requires Frequent Washing. Although it can be tossed in the machine, it should be washed often.

Higher Priced. This item is more expensive than most teethers, but the price is reasonable for the product.


The First Years Star Teething Blanket

The First Years wins again with this innovative teething blanket. The star-shaped blanket is soft and comfy, and baby will like the face in the middle.

Each point is adorned with a different teething surface, ranging from terrycloth to satiny fabric to nubby plastic. One of the points has a squeaky toy for extra fun. There’s a loop for hanging, too.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Easy to Hang On To. The blanket won’t be dropped as much as smaller toys.

Comforting. This teether is more soothing than hard plastic toys.

Reasonably Priced. This teether has a low price tag considering the versatility of the toy.

 

Cons:

Not BPA and Phthalate Free. This product contains both BPA and phthalates. It does meet all industry safety standards.

Only One Teething Surface. Only one of the points is a standard teething surface. The others are fabric.

Not Easy to Manipulate. Some babies have trouble getting the nubby plastic tip in their mouths because of its shape.


Munchkin Teether Babies

Instead of buying a simple teether, why not buy a toy that’s a teether, a plushie and a rattle all in one? More like an animal activity center than a teether, the Munchkin Teether Babies have big rubbery hands for chewing.

Crinkly material in the feet adds more entertainment value, and a ring makes it easy to attach to strollers and other baby gear. This three-pack includes a monkey, lion and elephant, but animals can also be purchased separately.

Founded in Los Angeles in 1991, Munchkin prides itself on innovation, and its 182 (and growing) patents testify to the inventiveness of its designers.

Munchkin is involved in the L.A. community, sponsoring events such as Parents’ Night Out. It also produces the only formula made with all grass-fed milk.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Machine Washable. You can drop these cuties right in the washing machine so they are always fresh.

BPA Free. This product contains no BPA.

Cute Designs. You baby will love these brightly colored animals with expressive faces.

 

Cons:

Only Two Teething Surfaces. Younger babies may have trouble locating and chewing on the hands.

Moderately High Priced. The three-pack is fairly expensive. Single Munchkin Teether Babies can be bought for a lower price.


Little Bam Bam Teething Toy by Bambeado

A teething toy that’s cute as it can be and also comes with a lifetime guarantee? Lots of moms are saying yes, thank you, to the Little Bam Bam teething toy by Bambeado.

Made of soft silicone in jewel-bright colors, this teething toy is molded all in one piece, so there are no crevices for germs to hide. That detail also allows it to be used for double duty as a bath toy. The whimsical design gives baby lots of spots to hang on to and lots of good chewing spots as well.

Bambeado is an international company based in Australia that has recently entered the U.S. market. Its first focus was Baltic amber teething necklaces, but it soon branched out into other teething aids.

Bambeado products are always free of BPA, PVC, latex, lead, phthalates, vinyl, cadmium, heavy metals, rubber and plastic.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Easy to Hold and Chew. Babies can grab and chew on the ears, the horns or the legs.

Safe for Baby. This toy is free of BPA and many other synthetic substances and chemicals.

Easy to Clean. This teether can be placed on the top rack of the dishwasher for cleaning.

 

Cons:

May Pick Up Fuzz. Like many silicone products, Little Bam Bam may attract fuzz.

High Priced. This item is is in the moderate to high price range.

Low Interest Level. Some babies show no interest in this toy.


Maple Teether Rings From Maple Landmark

Believe it or not, some authorities believe that natural wood makes the very best teethers. Unfinished wood has antimicrobial properties, so germs don’t grow on it. It’s naturally non-toxic, too. It’s firm for achy gums.

This set of teething rings from Maple Landmark is sanded super-smooth, and the modified ring design makes them easy to hold and chew on.

Wood teethers should not be soaked in water or put in the dishwasher. They should simply be wiped clean. If any treatment is desired, it is okay to rub a bit of food-grade oil on them.

Maple Landmark has been in the business of making wooden products for children since 1979. Products are made at their shop in Middlebury, Vermont. The company prides itself on being good stewards of the forest and on using local labor.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Totally Natural and Non-Toxic. You can feel good about giving your baby this teether.

Eco-Friendly. Natural wood products don’t pollute the earth even when they are discarded.

 

Cons:

High Priced. This item is is in the moderate to high price range.

Low Interest Level. Some babies show no interest in this toy.

Must Be Cleaned by Hand. This teether should be rinsed and wiped dry by hand.


And the Winner Teething Toy Is!

Because of its unique design and ready acceptance by babies, the Baby Banana Teething Toothbrush gets the nod. As an extra bonus, it should increase baby’s later acceptance of a “real†toothbrush and set the stage for a lifetime of good dental habits.

We like that it is made of soft food-grade silicone. Our top pick has to be BPA free, and this teether is also free of phthalates and latex. The only downside to this product is its tendency to pick up fuzz, and that’s easy to remedy with a quick rinse.

Runner-up is the Comotomo Silicone Baby Teether, which has many of the same attributes as the Baby Banana but isn’t quite so versatile. Parents who are all about natural products may choose the natural wood teething rings by Maple Landmark.

Those who want a more complete and versatile product may choose the plush Munchkin Teether Babies. But for most parents, the Baby Banana is a clear winner.

Parents should remember to watch their babies carefully when they are using any type of teether or toy. And when it comes to teething woes, they should remember that this, too, will pass.

 

Peter
Peter
Father of two wonderful kids, love parenthood and feel blessed to have an amazing family.
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