When baby’s first tooth appears, it’s exciting, but it certainly doesn’t come quietly. The drooling, fussing, and long nights probably have you searching high and low for natural teething relief. Enter the amber teething necklace.
Many natural mamas swear by them, but do they work? Are they safe? Should you go ahead and purchase one for your baby?
We’ve waded through the scientific and anecdotal evidence so you can make the best choice for your family.
What is an amber teething necklace?
Amber teething necklaces are designed to be worn by babies when they are teething. The common belief is that the child’s body heats the amber, causing it to release oils containing succinic acid. The succinic acid, in theory, gets absorbed into the bloodstream, helping to easy baby’s pain.
Nearly all amber teething necklaces are made from Baltic Amber, which is fossilized resin from the sap of conifer trees. It originates in the dark, cold forests of the Baltic region and, by some accounts, Baltic amber is over 44 million years old!
The Baltic region is so well known for its amber deposits, they’re sometimes referred to as “Baltic gold.” Other forms of amber from other regions of the world also exist, though Baltic amber is known for having higher levels of succinic acid.
Baltic amber comes in a variety of colors, including white, yellow, brown, black, red, green, and blue. The kind you’ll most often find for teething necklaces is brown/orange and milky. Blue and green amber, caused by gas and inclusions, is rare and thus highly valuable– too valuable for teething necklaces.
Baltic amber’s magic ingredient: succinic acid
The key component affiliated with Baltic amber’s healing properties is succinic acid, which accounts for 8% of its make-up.
Succinic acid is found in many vitamin supplements, heart medicine and topical creams for arthritis. Baltic Amber, in particular, is often found as an active ingredient in Chinese medicines. Baltic Amber necklaces are sold in pharmacies in many European and Asian countries.
That’s because succinic acid is also:
- immune boosting,
- and calming and soothing
Amber in its natural state remains popular to wear for everyone from babies to those suffering from arthritis for its pain relieving power.
So how exactly does succinic acid work in amber teething necklaces?
In theory, when placed around the baby’s neck, Baltic amber warms up, causing it to release oils that contain succinic acid. The acid, in turn, gets absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream.
Amber teething necklaces aren’t meant to be chewed or gummed on for comfort.
They’re just meant to be worn while the baby is awake.
Your baby can and will probably want to use other physical forms of teething relief like teething biscuits or a frozen washcloth.
Definitive scientific studies that show how much succinic acid is released—and whether this amount is substantial enough to have an impact—do not exist.
Succinic acid safety
Succinic acid itself is considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), because it “occurs widely as a natural constituent of the plants and animals which are commonly used for human food.” Succinic acid received attention and testing from the FDA since it’s so often added to ingestible products.
How to Use an Amber Teething Necklace
- Fasten an appropriately sized necklace around baby’s neck (we recommend a “pop clasp” safety release)
- You may need to distract baby momentarily so baby forgets the necklace is there
- Leave the necklace alone; let the amber work its magic
- Take necklace off at naps and nighttime
- Never allow baby to wear amber necklaces unsupervised
- Enjoy the benefits that so many natural mamas attest to
Where to buy an Amber Teething Necklace
Amazon offers the most options for amber teething necklaces. Here’s a link to their raw and unpolished options.
Just be sure the one you choose is raw and unpolished, and that it has good reviews.