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There are many pain conditions which can arise in children and be incredibly distressing for a parent. Today we are focussing on these three: teething, toothaches and ear aches. While at times, pain relief medication might be necessary, it’s useful to try these natural remedies first, or as an adjunct to, in order to limit the load oral medication can have on your child’s liver and detoxification systems.
Teething: 6 Natural Remedies
Applying something cold to help numb the gums is very effective and soothing for teething pain. There are several easy and virtually free ways to do this with things you probably already have in your home.
- Partially freeze a clean, wet cloth. Let your little one chew on the cold cloth to help numb the area and reduce swelling.
- Some children experience a lack of appetite when they are teething. It may help to offer soft, cool foods such as chilled pieces of fruit (for older babies already eating solids), or cold yoghurt, frozen even.
- Offer your baby an ice cube placed in a securely tied small muslin bag.
2. Apply Pressure
It is often easy to tell when a baby starts teething because they really begin to chew everything. The counter-pressure seems to help soothe the pain. There is no shortage of options for colorful, soft baby teething toys, but many have toxic chemicals in them. The most convenient teething tool out there is your own clean hand. If you can stand the gnawing, offer your baby your clean knuckle and he will happily chew away. Otherwise, there are many products out there like Sophie the Giraffe which are made from natural rubber and food grade paint, making it safer than many other options.
3. Teething Jewelry
Wear a teether! There are many silicone teething necklaces on the market, allowing your baby to chew on the soft beads to help numb her pain.
Chamomile is naturally calming and helps relax nerves and soothe pain. There are several ways you can use chamomile to soothe teething pain.
- Tea – make a weak tea and freeze it in ice cube trays. Place a frozen tea cube in a muslin bag and secure it tightly. Now your baby can gnaw on the bag and benefit from the chamomile as the cube melts.
- Tincture – this is quite easy to make yourself and you can place a drop or two on your finger and rub it onto your baby’s gums to soothe teething pain.
- Essential Oil –Mix 1 drop of chamomile essential oil into 1 tablespoon of a carrier oil (such as coconut or olive). Rub a small amount on baby’s gums to help relieve pain.
5. Amber Teething Necklace
Amber necklaces have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. The theory is that the warmth of the baby’s body releases the succinic acid found in Baltic amber. Succinic acid can have analgesic properties which help relieve pain in the body. It is difficult to prove one way or another whether these necklaces are effective but there are many, many testimonials and reviews sharing success stories.
6. Topical Pain Relief
- Homeopathic remedies can provide great relief for sore gums, and we stock some at the clinic.
- For children over the age of 2 you can use clove essential oil. Clove oil has a numbing effect on the gums that studies have shown to work as well as benzocaine. Mix 1 drop of clove oil with 1 tablespoon of a carrier oil (coconut or olive) and rub on the gums a few times a day. This would be helpful for adults with tooth pain as well, just increase the clove oil.
Toothaches: 3 Steps to Take
Firstly, start by reducing oral swelling. If the child is old enough to swish and spit, have him rinse with a warm saltwater solution to reduce oral inflammation. Mix a teaspoon of table salt into a small plastic cup of warm water.
Then apply a cold compress to the outside of the child’s cheek close to the sore area. Help the child hold it in place to reduce pressure and swelling inside the mouth.
Clove oil works as a topical analgesic and antibacterial to provide toothache pain relief. Apply the oil using a cotton swab. Gently dab it on the affected area around the tooth. Alternatively, visit a 24-hour pharmacy and choose a child-safe over-the-counter oral medication containing clove oil as an active ingredient.
Toothache pain can be caused by a variety of issues, including infections, an injury, a loose tooth, decay in the tooth or impacted food particles, or digestive issues, so make sure you don’t ignore tooth pain and schedule an appointment with your health practitioner to get to the bottom of it.
Ear ache: 7 Natural Remedies
Earaches can be debilitating, but they don’t always warrant antibiotics. Prescribing guidelines for ear infections have changed in the last 5 years, and your child might not even be prescribed antibiotics. Not all ear infections are bacterial or need prescription medication. In fact, you could find all the relief you need in your home with these 7 natural treatments:
1. Cold or warm compresses
People often use ice packs or warm compresses, like a heating pad or damp washcloth, to relieve pain. The same can be done for ear pain. This method is safe for both children and adults. Place the ice pack or warm compress over the ear and alternate between warm and cold after 10 minutes. If you prefer either cold or warm, you can use just one compress.
2. Olive oil
Putting a few warmed drops of olive oil in the ear is safe and has been claimed to be effective in reducing ear pain. Make sure the olive oil is no warmer than your body temperature by using a thermometer. This will help you avoid burning the eardrum.
3. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has powerful antifungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. These can be applied as ear drops to reduce pain and discomfort. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a small amount of olive oil.
4. Sleep without putting pressure on the ear
Some sleep positions will aggravate pain from ear infections, and some can help relieve it. Sleep with the affected ear raised instead of having it faced down towards the pillow. This can help the ear drain better if necessary. You can also sleep with your head elevated by using extra pillows. This can also help the ears drain faster.
Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe pain from earaches. Apply ginger juice, or strained oil that was warmed with ginger in it, around the outer ear canal. Do not put it directly into the ear.
Garlic has both antibiotic and pain-relieving properties. One study found that eardrops containing garlic, among other ingredients, were just as effective as over-the-counter eardrops. Soak crushed garlic for several minutes in warm olive or sesame oil. Strain the garlic out and apply the oil into the ear canal.
If it’s a child battling an earache, do your best to get them comfortable by taking their mind off the pain. Put on their favorite movie, bring home a new coloring book, have a bubble bath with lots of toys, let them play a game on your phone or tablet, pick up their favorite snack, or simply find other things for them to focus on.