I have two kids, ages 5 and 7, and sometimes I get nostalgic when I see a newborn baby. Recently my husband’s niece had her first child and it got me thinking about all the beautiful things I miss about those first few months of life. Invariably, I get a craving for a new baby and have to remind myself about all the tough phases as well.
Teething is one of those times that many of us are glad to see an end to. The truth is, children aren’t done with teething once all their baby teeth arrive. My daughter, the younger of the two, is currently missing one lower tooth and my son is sporting three spaces in his mouth. We don’t tend to associate this phase of development as “teething,” but it is just as important, if not more so, than the one that happens to infants.
For an older child getting adult teeth, the pain in the gums and the roots of developing teeth is perhaps less impactful. This is because as children age they are a bit more aware of what pain actually is and can articulate and understand it better. That understanding leads to less fear, which lessens the drama. This time is even more important though since the teeth that are emerging will be with them for the rest of their lives. We need to take special care of nutrition as adult teeth arrive for this reason.
The official definition of teething is a tooth emerging in a space where no tooth has been before. This continues, seeing a new molar every 6 years until age 18. So this replacement of baby teeth with adult teeth isn’t technically teething, though there are a few similarities. We still tend to need to provide a bit of pain relief, plenty of bone building foods, and a pile of change for the tooth fairy.
Teething Remedies: Herbs and Foods
Here are my favorite herbs and foods to keep in an ongoing supply when adult teeth are emerging:
Just as important as calcium, Vitamin C contributes mightily to healthy bone development.
A good daily cod liver or fish oil dose can be a really important addition to a young child’s diet while getting adult teeth.
A couple spoonfuls of bone broth each morning with a bit of spices and salt is great as a supplement to the diet. This is so important to ensure that those new teeth are full of the minerals they need to be healthy and strong. (Learn to make your own bone broth here.)
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
Chamomile is a classic herb for supporting healthy bone development and for soothing pain and inflammation that can be associated with new teeth emerging. (Find dried chamomile flowers for making tea here.)
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Rose hips (Rosa spp.)
High in Vitamin C, rose hips bring tartness and a beautiful splash of color to the party. Rose hips are easy to add to any formula you may make for your child during this time. (Find dried rose hips here.)
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
High in calcium and Vitamin C (122 mg in a 200 calorie serving), parsley isn’t just for garnish anymore. Add this superstar to your child’s morning smoothie and they’ll get a boost of nutrition that’s perfect for their teeth.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil has one of the highest levels of calcium in vegetables – 1,684 mg in a 200 calorie serving and it isn’t too shabby in the Vitamin C category either (61 mg in a 200 calorie serving). Basil pesto anyone?
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
If you want to soothe sore gums best, make a tea into popsicles. Here’s my recipe!
Teething Remedies Popsicles Recipe
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- 1 quart pre-made tea (2 parts chamomile, 1 part fennel, 2 parts rose hips, 3 parts spearmint)
- ½ cup fruit juice (we like an organic fruit juice)
- raw honey to taste (find raw honey here)
- Mix up your tea blend and add 4 tablespoons to one quart of freshly boiled water. Cover and steep for 20 minutes. Strain.
- Add tea, parsley, and fruit juice to your blender and blend until everything is uniformly chopped.
- Sweeten to taste with raw honey.
- Pour into popsicle molds, secure lids (and sticks depending on your mold), and freeze for several hours or overnight. (Try these silicone molds for babies, or these molds for older kids.)