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Teething is one of those stages that can be 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 set of teeth.

Most babies get their lower central incisors first between ages 6 and 10 months, followed by their upper central incisors between 8 and 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 they’re teething:

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

Is fever a symptom?

It’s a common misconception that a child can have a fever associated with teething. There’s no scientific evidence to support this idea, so if your child has a rectal temperature higher than 100.4°F (38°C), this could be a sign that they’re sick (and teething is not the underlying cause).

While most people think that teethers are only necessary for the first few teeth, the molar eruption can also be very painful. So don’t be surprised if you find that 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 should not 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 (FDA) 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, and this is doubly true when they’re teething. All that saliva can create skin irritations. So, when your baby is teething, keep a bib on hand to catch the excess dribble. You can also use a barrier ointment like Vaseline or Aquaphor to keep exterior skin from getting irritated.

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

Vulli Sophie La Girafe

  • Price: $$$
  • Material: 100% natural rubber (from the Hevea tree)
  • Key features: BPA-free, phthalate-free, latex-free, lead-free
  • Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Dimensions: 3.5 x 1.2 x 7 inches

Hands down one of the most popular baby teethers that continues to delight parents and babies is the Sophie La Girafe.

The teething material is made entirely from natural rubber, which is gentler on baby’s gums. Plus, thanks to Sophie’s long legs and chewy ears, there’s plenty to keep your baby occupied.

Best natural teether

Calmies Natural Teether Toy

  • Price: $$
  • Material: 100% natural rubber (from Pará rubber trees)
  • Key features: PVC-free, BPA-free, phthalate-free, paraben-free
  • Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 3 inches

If you’re concerned about your teether’s content, an all-natural toy is the way to go. This teether is made from 100-percent natural plant-based rubber and is free from BPA or PVC.

Reviewing parents love that the teether features multiple grips, giving their children plenty of holding spots. But for some parents and babies, the natural rubber smell may be too intense and can be amplified as it gets wet.

Best teether for molars

Baby Elefun Elephant Teether

  • Price: $
  • Material: 100% food-grade silicone
  • Key features: BPA-free, phthalate-free, latex-free, lead-free
  • Weight: 1.76 ounces
  • Dimensions: 3.5 x 0.3 x 2.8 inches

Not all teethers are designed to easily reach those back molars, even though they can be especially painful. This teether from Baby Elefun is made for multiple stages of teething because it has five textures and bristles, giving your baby plenty of options when it comes to soothing their sore gums.

This option is made from 100-percent food-grade silicone that’s BPA-free and has a large open center to ensure baby maintains a solid grip. Parents appreciate that it could be quickly cleaned and sanitized in hot water, the microwave, or the dishwasher.

Best multipurpose teether

Baby Banana Infant Toothbrush

  • Price: $
  • Material: 100% food-grade silicone
  • Key features: BPA-free and phthalate-free
  • Weight: 1.41 ounces
  • Dimensions: 4.33 x 0.39 x 7.87 inches

If your baby’s teeth are coming in, you’re also about to enter a new phase of dental hygiene. The Baby Banana pulls double duty as a teether and your child’s first attempt at using a toothbrush.

The gentle massaging brush head soothes gums and later works to keep those new chompers pearly white. And the cute banana peel handles give your little one something to securely hold on to as they bite down on the brush head.

Best teether treat

teetherpop

  • Price: $$
  • Material: food-grade silicone
  • Key features: BPA-free, PVC-free, phthalate-free, and latex-free
  • Weight: 2.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎4 x 2 x 4 inches

As we mentioned before, a traditional teether shouldn’t be kept in the freezer. But there’s an exception to this rule: Ices are a great way to soothe your baby’s mouth without posing a risk to their gums.

Parents love the teetherpop because they can fill it with breast milk, water, or even juice and smoothies to create a sweet treat that gives your baby some comfort.

Intended for ages 6 months and older, it’s made from food-grade silicone and is BPA- and latex-free. Plus, the safety cap has four small holes that allow the melted liquid to flow through for less mess.

Best teething mitt

Itzy Ritzy Teething Mitt

  • Price: $
  • Material: food-grade silicone
  • Key features: BPA-free, PVC-free, nontoxic
  • Weight: 0.96 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎2.6 x 0.34 x 4.9 inches

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

Promise Babe Natural Wood Teething Toy Set

  • Price: $$$
  • Material: eco-friendly beechwood
  • Key features: BPA-free, phthalate-free, and no paint or wax finish
  • Weight: 5 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎6.69 x 2.76 x 3.94 inches

Some parents prefer vintage-style toys for their babies. In that case, this 11-piece set of wooden teethers from Promise Babe will give you that retro vibe you’re looking for.

The fun shapes can keep babies engaged while you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing exactly what your baby is chewing on. However, keep in mind that these are all smooth textured, so you may not find them as effective as some other options.

Best budget-friendly teethers

Dr. Brown’s Coolees Soothing Teether

  • Price: $
  • Material: silicone and plastic
  • Key features: BPA-free
  • Weight: 0.7 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎4.10 x 0.40 x 5.80 inches

Dr. Brown’s is another household name that’s a fan favorite among parents because many of its 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 can be 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. We feature several options above that are dishwasher safe or can be sterilized with steam in a microwave or boiled.

Budget

In general, most teethers are affordable. While we did include a few splurge options, 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? Are there small pieces that can break off and cause a choking hazard? These are all important features to keep in mind.

When should babies use teethers?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies generally start teething between 4 and 7 months old. But most teethers are safe for babies to use starting at 3 months old.

Can I give my 3-month-old a teether?

Always check the product packaging for age recommendations, as some teethers are not recommended until your baby is 6 months and older. However, there are many designed to be safe for babies ages 3 months and older.

If your baby starts to show signs of teething this early, it’s perfectly safe to give them age-appropriate teethers.

How often should you clean a teether?

Since teethers are going into your baby’s mouth, it’s important to regularly clean your baby’s teethers as often as possible, at least once a day or every time they are used, to remove germs. They should also be cleaned if they are visibly soiled.

For convenience, we chose teethers for this list that are easier to clean, such as those that can be thrown into a dishwasher.

How long should babies use teethers?

Teethers can be used as long as they help soothe your baby’s discomfort. Some people prefer to only use a teether as their baby’s first set of teeth comes in, but molar eruption (which tends to happen past 12 months) may also be painful, in which case you can continue to use a teether throughout the entire teething process.

Should teethers be frozen?

According to the AAP and the FDA, it’s safe to put teethers in the freezer if it’s just to get them a little cold and not rock hard. If they become too hard, they may become brittle and pose a choking hazard.

Experts are also wary of gel-filled cooling teethers. The AAP recommends against a liquid- or gel-filled teether since it could become contaminated with bacteria if baby bites into it.

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.