Does Vanilla Help Teething Babies?

When baby starts teething, everything is fair game to chew on; her hands, your hands, toys, spoons, dog toys, anything to help relieve her aching gums. These pain management techniques are her attempt to help her first set of teeth break through her gums.

This time in your baby’s development may be quite uncomfortable and even painful for her. It may have you trying different over-the-counter remedies and homeopathic alternatives, such as vanilla, to help her achieve some relief.

Growing Teeth

Expect to see the first sign of a white nub of a tooth erupting through your baby’s lower front gum around the 6 month mark. It’s not unusual to start teething a month or two earlier, or even a month or two later.

Lower primary front teeth are normally the first to make an appearance followed shortly by the upper front teeth.

After that the molars, upper and lower, followed by the canines and then the farthest back molars.

Before the age of 3 years, your little tyke should be rollicking around with a full set of his first pearly whites.


Baby holding a toy

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Three to five days prior to a tooth erupting through your baby’s gum, he’ll probably be fussy and possibly irritable. There’ll be lots of drool and hand chewing and possibly a rash on his chin and cheeks from the drool. It’s the pressure of the tooth on the gums trying to break through the skin that causes his discomfort.

He may be cranky, unable to sleep and not want to eat. This is normal. Once the tooth peeks through, these symptoms should subside.

What isn’t normal, explains University of Florida Health, is diarrhea and fever. ​If your baby is experiencing either of these symptoms, seek medical attention​.

Vanilla for Relief, but avoid Extract

A home remedy sometimes used to help relieve baby’s teething pain is vanilla extract. You should avoid vanilla extract because it contains as much as 35 percent alcohol.

To get the correct consistency and flavor, vanilla extract needs many additives. One additive is alcohol. ​Real vanilla extract contains as much as 35 percent alcohol​; imitation vanilla extract contains less.

Another reason to avoid vanilla extract is, according to webmd, less expensive extracts may use tonga bean to dilute vanilla extracts and may contain a chemical called coumarin, which is banned by the FDA.

Although vanilla is widely used to help with teething pain, there is no scientific evidence to suggest its effectiveness, states a 2009 article in the medical journal Pediatrics in Review.

  • Vanilla can have a calming effect.
  • Vanilla is known to help with upset tummies, so if your little one is distressed from swallowing too much drool, vanilla may help.

Read more: Is Alcohol in Vanilla Extract Harmful to a Toddler?

What Alternatives to Vanilla Extract?

Baby holding a toy

Teething & Congestion

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There are other home remedies that may also help relieve your baby’s painful gums.

  • To alleviate sore gums try rubbing them with a wet washcloth that’s been in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes.
  • Let him chew on a cold apple or frozen teething ring.
  • Any soft foods right from the refrigerator can also help lessen his pain, even a bottle of cold water might do the trick.