Teething Then Vs Now

Teething had always been around unlike some of the many products available today.  Lets have a look at some of the things used to help and sooth teething over the years … some are quite shocking!

Did you know that for centuries people believed that teething caused childhood illness including infant death?   Infant mortality was especially high in children aged 6 months to 2 years of age, coincidentally the time of teething!

Early solutions for teething would be considered barbaric by us today.  Did you know that they even applied leeches to the gum to help teeth through? Medicines used to treat teething also contained Opium due to it’s ability to relieve pain and induce sleep!

Syrup of white poppies is an example of an early medicine that was rubbed on babies gums!

They also used to lance babies gums believing it would help emerging teeth come through avoiding problematic symptoms of teething! Although this was carried out by medical professionals they used no anaesthesia and non sterile lancets … those poor babes.

By the 1800s medicines were being marketed for teething, but there was no regulations or scentific proof.  Many of these medicines contained ingredients to relieve pain, procure sleep and regulate the bowels that would now be considered unacceptable to give to infants. These included opium, morphine, and mercury-based compounds such as calomel.

Soothing, Teething, and Cooling Powders contained sugar, to disguise the unpleasant taste of the calomel and other ingredients.  This exposed the teeth to harmful acids and contributed to the risk of tooth decay.

By the mid 20th century it was understood that teething DID NOT cause childhood illness.  This is where teething products were produced to provide relief for specific symptoms.  Many contained paracetamol to reduce fever and sooth pain.  An effective treatment due to it’s mild and rare side effects.  Sugar Free Calpol is now the market leader.

Teething gels were formulated to relieve pain in the area that they are rubbed.  Some do contain antiseptic and you will see products in the shops today like Bonjela.

Many parents now prefer homeopathic remedies as an alternative to conventional medicine.  Products such as Nelsons Teething Powders are designed for the sooting and calming relief of teething.

Teething Rings, Toys and Necklaces are great for babies.  Babies naturally want to chew objects to gain relief from teething pain. The chewing process also helps the teeth emerge through the gums.  But did you know that the first teething necklace was actually designed in 1903?  The Swiss Electro Chemical Teething Necklace was to be worn by babies day and night! Unfortunately I can’t find any more information on this product but it sounds both scary and dangerous! These days we have our lovely Gumigem Necklaces, safe for mum to wear and baby to chew.

So that is a little bit about teething Then Vs Now.  Teething can be a very difficult process for some little ones, but at least these days you can help then with safe and effective products!

Check out our range of teething toys!

For more information visit https://www.rpharms.com/museum-pdfs/g-teethingtreatments.pdf

Top image by Liz West