Amber necklace: is it really effective in relieving baby teeth?

Amber necklace is it really effective in relieving baby teeth

The amber necklace is often used by parents to soothe baby’s dental pain. Opinions differ on its effectiveness. What do specialists recommend? Is the amber necklace dangerous? Here is the opinion of Dr. Arnault Pfersdorff, pediatrician, who gives us his advice on the amber necklace for babies.

When the teething begin, young parents are sometimes tempted touse an amber necklace to relieve baby toothache. Teething starts around the age of 3-4 months and it can last up to 1 year, 1 year and a half”, says Arnault Pfersdorff. According to some parents, the amber necklace has many benefits as well as painkillers for baby teeth. But for specialists, the amber necklace represents a danger, in particular because of the small pearls which could detach (risk of strangulation and suffocation according to the health authorities). Besides, is the amber necklace really useful for babies? What is the opinion of health professionals? Dr. Arnault Pfersdorff, pediatrician, enlightens us.

What is an amber necklace?

An amber necklace is made of amber beads mounted on a chain or on a cord, which attaches around the child’s neck. Amber is a fossilized conifer resin, to which many virtues are attributed, including that of relieve the pain of teething. According to some parents, the amber necklace would have many benefits, including its analgesic property for dental pain in toddlers. Other virtues are also associated with the amber necklace, in particular those of facilitating baby’s sleep and strengthening his immune system.

Does the amber necklace really relieve baby’s dental pain?

In reality,there are no studies that prove that amber has a beneficial effect for dental pain, explains Dr. Pfersdorff. According to the pediatrician, “It is a custom that remains in the memories, that pediatricians do not recommend“. Concretely, the only benefit would be for the parents or those around them. “By offering an amber necklace to the baby, parents, grandparents or loved ones have the impression of being proactive, of doing something to relieve it. Parents have the feeling of doing something, and it can therefore calm the child simply by the fact that they themselves are soothedaccording to our expert.

“There are no studies that prove that amber has any beneficial effect for dental pain.”

Why is the amber necklace dangerous for babies?

In addition to its effectiveness which has not been scientifically proven, doctors advise against amber necklace because it can also represent a real danger for babies.

Choking or strangulation hazards

An infant has not yet mastered his movements, and he will regularly put his hand to his mouth, especially when his gums hurt. The risk is then that he passes his hand between the collar and the thorax, and he can choke or strangle himself, explains Dr. Pfersdorff. In 2012, following the publication of a study carried out in the pediatric emergencies of the hospitals of Toulouse and Montauban, the French Society of Pediatrics had also pointed out this danger.specifying that the amber necklaces were “with a risk of strangulation or inhalation of the beads“.

Non-compliance with manufacturing standards

“If the necklace is not made to standard, by dint of being manipulated by the child with his hand, it can come off or break. The infant can then swallow one or more pearls. There is therefore a risk of misdirection and suffocation.underlines our specialist.

Material quality

The third danger concerns the materials used. According to the pediatrician, “we don’t always know the composition of these necklaces, often coming from China or Eastern Europe. If it is not amber, there is a toxic risk in contact with the baby’s skin or if he swallows a pearl”.

How to relieve dental pain?

In default of the amber necklace, there are several approved methods to relieve the pain associated with baby teething.

► The first is babywearing, and making yourself available for the baby. “By taking him in his arms, rocking him, he will calm down”says Dr. Pfersdorff.

► You can also run your finger under cold water and massage the child’s gums with the cooled finger, “a technique that really soothes pain”.

► Similarly, teething ringsand in particular models that can be placed in the freezer, prove to be effective.

► Finally, you can go see your child’s doctor, who can prescribe homeopathy granules to take as a 5-6 day cure, again a method tested and approved by our specialist.

► If all this does not work, it indicates that “the doctor can prescribe paracetamol suppositories”.

Thanks to Dr Arnault Pfersdorff, pediatrician and author of Baby: first instructions (Hachette editions).