In recent years I’ve seen more and more babies wearing amber teething necklaces. You probably have too, both in the streets, in your circle of family and friends, and around the million dollar necks of celebrity offspring.
If you don’t know, these necklaces are made from Baltic Amber and are supposed to relieve pain and inflammation from teething. I’ve heard many people say they work, and many more who say they may as well try them even if they’re aren’t sure if they work, but here’s the rub: there’s not one single shred of evidence worldwide that amber necklaces have any affect on the body whatsoever – except to self-esteem, perhaps. I feel great when I wear some beautiful amber jewellery my dad gave me, but only because I look so lovely in it 😉
There’s two main arguments why I don’t think the teething necklaces should be used.
I write about both here, in an article about the dangers of choking or strangulation from a necklace made with beads that have absolutely no proven health benefits. The beads can break off easily and become a choking hazard and you should never wrap anything about a baby’s neck as they risk strangling themselves. Some suggest wearing the necklace around the ankle to avoid strangulation but then the risk of choking on dislodged beads still exists.
But the main reason I don’t think an amber necklace should be worn by babies to relieve teething pain is because they’re a hoax.
Though the idea of amber assisting with pain exists in some ancient cultures, it is no more real than the ancient practise of wearing an amulet bearing the symbol of a hedgehog to protect against baldness. Participating in and encouraging pseudo-science like this may seem harmless on the surface, but it detracts from the real causes of and cures for teething and entrenches a systemic mistrust of actual science in favour of magic – and this is when the unscrupulous and exploitative will benefit and profit from parents just wanting the best for their children.
The bottom line is that amber teething necklaces are neither effective or safe.
If you don’t want to use proven pain medication here are just a few simple natural remedies you can try if your child seems bothered by teething:
- Giving your child a frozen wet washcloth or frozen banana to chew on.
- Giving your child teethers such as Sophie the giraffe or one of the many many teething toys available.
- Rubbing your baby’s gums with your finger.
Join the discussion below, what do you think about amber teething necklaces?
Click here to read my article,
‘Should you try an amber teething necklace?’
for a discussion about the pros and cons of teething necklaces
Let’s check the science: Amber teething necklaces – should babies wear them or not?
Amber beads – a follow up to thousands of comments
9 responses to “Teething Necklaces: Are they a scam? (I’ll give you a hint, the answer is ‘yes’)”
I’ve been suss on these for a while now. Coming from a nursing background it makes no more sense than wearing a bit if bark around your neck. I knew it was complete bull sh!te when the other week I heard a lady telling her friend that the different coloured amber has different properties and is therefore for different ailments and there are some that sit up higher off the skin than others and these are for different ailments – she was going to buy them for her whole family. Scam. Just placebo effect for the adults.
I’ve used the amber necklace for baby teething pain and it worked. I was skeptical just like you, but that didn’t last long because when I saw the relief on my baby’s face, I don’t care HOW they work, I just know they do!
For an entertaining discussion between homeopathy manufacturer brauer natural medicine and an irate customer, Maria Capelli, see https://www.facebook.com/BrauerAus?fref=ts The customer is making a complaint about poisonous material in a product and at last look Brauer are trying to tell the customer that homeopathy gives a microdose of the symptom. Very entertaining.
It’s pretty telling how quickly she becomes confused by their claims and asks how they can include a small amount of the symptom in their teething cure – good questions Maria, where is “teething pain” listed in the ingredients?! Thanks for the link!
I would be afraid of the necklace breaking and choking my son! I think the only thing that works is real medicine.
Weleda baby teething powder is a homeopathic medicine. I found that really good for teething.
Homeopathy will be the feature of another post I am quite sure as it is another utterly fake remedy, often confused with natropathy which uses remedies found in nature.
Homeopathy is based completely outside of science. See below for a link to an explanation of how it claims to work and why it doesn’t.
Just like the amber necklaces, those who sell it make claims that are not backed up by science and present their ‘cures’ in a way that is designed to fool.
Waleda’s teething powder, for example, lists its ingredients as Chamomilla root 20x; Conchae 6x.
This means that if you have 10,000,000,000 parts water (or lactose, which is sometimes used as the carrier) there is 1 part Chamomilla and if you have 1,000,000 parts water (or lactose) there is 1 part Conchae.
For this 50g bottle that means there is 0.000000005g Chamomilla and 0.00005g Conchae and 49.999949995g lactose (the carrier, like water).
Even if these two ingredients were cures for teething pain, they have become so dilute as to virtually disappear.
In fact, they literally disappear at 12x above, though homeopthic remedies regularly list their ingredients as being 60x. To answer this the proponents of this ‘medicine’ claim the water now has the memory of the ingredient it once contained.
I have no doubt whatsoever you and the many people who use these remedies are looking for natural cures for your child’s pain, doing the best you can to alleviate their pain and explore natural options.
It’s common not to realise that the sellers’ double talk means you are buying bottles of water that are meant to remember being near other water that was near herbs that might help your child.
It concerns me deeply that people who think gaudy beads have the very specific magical power of nullifying teething pain are allowed to have children.
I am sorry, vast multitude of such children – the crazy people bringing you up probably want the best for you, they just didn’t stop and think.
I think that’s just it, sometimes when faced with a child in pain parents may not think through whether or not a necklace could really provide relief, they just want to try anything to help. The first fault lies with those who capitalise on a parent’s love by selling them fake cures.