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Teething is one of those stages that’s probably just as uncomfortable for parents as it is for their baby.

While cutting teeth is a major milestone that every baby goes through, the first few teeth tend to be the most painful — not to mention the most memorable for parents as they try to soothe their fussy babes.

As your baby looks for sweet relief from new-tooth pain, they’ll want to bite and gnaw to soothe their irritated gums. Your little one might start reaching for dangerous household objects — or your hands or shoulders, ouch! — and teething toys are a great and safe alternative.

So, we’re rounding up some of the most effective products on the market to put an end to those teething tears.

If you’re a first-time parent, you might wonder when your baby will begin to get their first few sets of teeth.

Most babies get their lower central incisors first between 6 and 10 months of age, followed by their upper central incisors, which appear between 8 to 12 months.

Even if you’re used to your baby’s fussiness, teething can feel like a whole new ballgame.

You’ll most likely notice a few specific symptoms that let you know that they’re teething:

  • chewing on items
  • crankiness and irritability
  • sore and swollen gums
  • excessive drooling

While most people think that teethers are only necessary for the first few sets of teeth, the molar eruption can also be very painful. So, don’t be surprised if you find that your baby needs a teether again when their molars begin to appear around 13 months.

While there are plenty of safe ways to ease your baby’s teething pain, there are also a lot of bad practices that shouldn’t be used.

Always inspect your teether

Considering how much gnawing and biting a baby can do, some teethers may not stand the test of time. Always inspect the surface of your baby’s teether for tears and if you find them, throw it away. A broken teether can become a choking hazard.

Chill, don’t freeze

A cold teether can be very refreshing for a teething baby. But experts agree that you should chill your teethers in your refrigerator rather than freezing them. This is because when frozen, the teether can be too hard and end up damaging your child’s gums. It can also damage the durability of the toy.

Avoid teething jewelry

While these are a popular category that many parents swear by, the Food and Drug Administration recommends avoiding them as the small beads and accessories on teething necklaces, anklets, or bracelets can become a choking hazard.

Keep a bib close by

Babies are drooly, but it’s doubly true when they’re teething. All of that saliva can create skin irritations. So, when your baby is teething, keep a bib on hand to wipe up the excess dribble.

Even if this isn’t your first time as a parent, you want a teether that’s going to last through your child’s dental milestones from their first tooth to their final molar.

To create our list, we focused on durability, how easily a teether could be cleaned, cost, and design.

Price guide

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10–$15
  • $$$ = over $15

Best overall teether

Best natural teether

Best teether for molars

Best cooling teether

Best multipurpose teether

Best teether treat

Best teething mitt

Itzy Ritzy Teething Mitt

Price: $

Teething mitts are a great alternative if you’re tired of constantly retrieving lost or dropped teethers every 2 minutes. The Itzy Ritzy Teething Mitt stays put once wrapped around your baby’s hand and works to engage their senses as well as provide much-needed relief.

The fabric portion is designed with crinkly material that makes noise, and the colorful food-grade silicone is textured for gum relief. Parents love that you can choose from seven adorable styles and that this is a machine-washable teether.

Best wooden teether

Best teether for your budget

Dr. Brown’s Coolees Soothing Teether

Price: $

Dr. Brown’s is another household name that’s a fan favorite among parents because many of their products are designed with the support of pediatric dentists.

This adorable watermelon wedge teether is easy for tiny hands to hold, making it great for babies as young as 3 months. Plus, it can be chilled in your refrigerator for a cool treat for irritated gums. It’s also top-rack dishwasher safe.

Most parents find that babies tend to have a favorite. So, when you’re first shopping for a teether, it’s a good idea to pick a few to give yourself (and your baby) some options.

Also, keep the following features in mind as you test out teethers:

Durability

No one wants to buy a teether that needs to be replaced a month later. Look for teethers made of sturdy silicone, rubber, or wood that won’t fall apart after a few uses.

Keep in mind, babies can be rough with teethers because they’re trying to soothe their gums.

Cleaning

Considering that a teether spends a lot of time in your child’s mouth, you want to make sure that cleaning and sterilizing a teether doesn’t become an impossible task. In our guide, we featured several options that were dishwasher safe, could be sterilized with steam in a microwave, or boiled.

Budget

In general, most teethers are affordable toys. While we did include a few splurge options, on the whole you should be able to stock up on this essential baby item without breaking the bank.

Design

How easily can your baby grip a teether? Are there enough textures that can soothe their gums? Are the pieces too big for them to chew down on the toy? These are all important features to keep in mind.

A teether is an essential item for any parent of a small baby.

Teething can be a rough time for babies and parents, but you can make life easier by finding a teether that can be easily cleaned, is durable enough to last through your baby’s entire first round of tooth eruptions, and keeps them engaged.