Natural Teething Solutions to Soothe Gnawing Worries

Our 16-month-old notifies me that he’s teething by forcefully biting my finger or clamping down while breastfeeding (SO painful!).  He also produces loads of saliva to be used for slimy kisses or casual drooling. On a late night trip to the local drug store in search of a teething solution, I found that the only teething items on the mainstream market are all different shapes, sizes and colors of plastic.


While I hated using plastic because of its impact on the planet, I didn’t initially know about the health concerns. If you haven’t yet heard the recent news reports, here’s the update in a nutshell: Certain plastics leach carcinogens and toxins that could affect your baby’s development and/or reproductive health.  Ack! You say, my baby is chewing on a large hunk of plastic as I read this!  Luckily, there is a wonderful website,, that will send you a wallet-sized card to help you select safer plastic products for your child.  The site also has excellent information on green cleaning,  green baby showers, and many other topics.


Even when I was armed with my handy-dandy safer plastics guide, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy plastic teething rings for my son.  So, I tried letting him chew on his wooden toys.  Hmmm. After he actually bit a chunk out of his wooden airplane wing, I attempted other strategies.  A little gizmo with a small mesh net you can fill with ice or cold fruit was helpful for awhile, but I still searched for the perfect object. 


In a local baby boutique I discovered Earnest Efforts wooden teething rattles made from recycled Oregon woods.  They’re hand-sanded to be ultra soft and coated in beeswax to be safe for babies. There’s no way Roscoe could gnaw a chunk out of these hardwood teethers.  Priced at $15 each, they cost much more than the average teething ring but would also outlast a plastic toy.


Still, the question kept popping into my brain: “How did people deal with teething hundreds of years ago?” Roscoe helped me unveil the answer during one of our afternoon walks.  He leaned over, picked up a smooth stone and bit down hard. I’m in no way a clean freak, but I couldn’t quite get comfy with Roscoe chewing on a large driveway rock.  My neighbor helped me solve my dilemma by giving Roscoe a polished agate–large enough so that he couldn’t choke on it and flat enough that he could get his gums around it.  It also happens to be far more aesthetically pleasing than a plastic teether.


Here is a picture of Roscoe playing with one of the other natural teething solutions we came up with.  It’s green and quite economical! 


Since then Roscoe has shown me that the crusty heels of French bread or rustic wheat are marvelous for aching gums.  My daycare provider, an expert in green baby solutions for over 30 years, suggests soaking a washrag in chamomile tea and freezing it for a natural solution. When I cut up celery sticks and put them in a container full of water in the fridge, it works perfectly as a hand-held tool for my son.   Also, all of Roscoe’s teething favorites come with a price tag of next to nothing. Apparently thriftiness is a biological trait.  


  1. This was a great post! I never realized how dangerous plastic teething rings could be! Besides a little celery never hurt anyone!

  2. I was just reading Tiffany’s blog on and ran across this post: She provides an extensive list of BPA-free pacifiers and teethers.

  3. Hi,
    Love your words, but wanted to let you know that the link you give for Tiny Footprints is actually You have it listed with an “s” and that is a totally different site.

  4. Have you heard of or tried the Oh Plah! Teething bracelet?

    French for “Here You Go!” Oh Plah!™ is a bracelet for mom that baby or child can safely play with as a toy or teether
    Constructed of medical grade thermoplastic- non-toxic, bacteria resistant, and free of lead, latex, PVC, BPA and phthalates
    Meets or exceeds the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) regulations, in addition to meeting or exceeding safety testing standards for Canada (C.R.C. c.931) and the European Union (EN-71). Click here to view our Certificate of Compliance.
    No small parts means its safe for even the tiniest babe
    Extremely durable yet flexible, standing up to frequent chewing without looking worn or damaged
    Easily cleaned with soap and water, and dries quickly so that it can be worn again right away
    Great as a nursing reminder (switch wrists to remember which side comes next)
    Made in the USA

  5. Hmmm…celery! Maybe I’ll have to give that a try with my little guy. He is teething up a storm right now.

  6. I’ve stopped by a few times and liked what you’ve posted. I’ve bookmarked your site so I can learn from it from time to time. I”ll subscribe to your feed.


  1. […] 1. Title your posts with as many key words as possible. Webcrawlers scan your site for key words, which to them means titles and bolded phrases. In an early post about natural teething remedies, Joy thought up the clever title “Gnawing Worries.” My cousin told us to change it. No one who is hunting around for natural teething ideas is typing “gnawing worries” into Google. Joy changed the title to “Natural Teething Solutions to Soothe Gnawing Worries.” […]

  2. […] work for you?  What are your favorite natural alternatives to mainstream plastic teethers?  In this vintage post I wrote about using cold celery and a polished agate for my little […]

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