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Old 09 April 2008, 02:11 PM
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Icon97 Amber for teething babies

Around here, a lot of babies are wearing amber necklaces or bracelets like this:



This necklaces are said to "help with teething".

I can't imagine any way a stone (or "quasi-stone") worn on the outside of the body can help reduce pain inside the body - be it teething pain or any other. Similar say all doctors I heard talking on the subject.

But: Where does this believe come from? Is it possible that amber was used in former times as a kind of teething ring, given it's plastic-like character?

What do you think (or know)?

Don Enrico
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Old 09 April 2008, 02:16 PM
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I can't speak to their efficacy in easing teething pain, though I'm skeptical. But the necklace and bracelet shown in the pic are serious choking hazards and should probably not be put on a baby for any reason.

Nonny
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Old 09 April 2008, 02:19 PM
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Found it - and it's the usual pseudoscience BS.

I assumed, like you, that it might be used as an actual teething ring - amber feels extremely smooth and has almost a softness to it similar to plastic rings, but no - it has something to do with "healing oils" and "ions," apparently.

(I wonder - if one dunks the amber in a glass of water, can the water then be used as a homeopathic teething remedy?)


ETA: Ditto what Nonny said on the sheer stupidity of putting a necklace on a baby.
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Old 09 April 2008, 02:20 PM
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I can't see how giving a bunch of windpipe-sized rocks on a thin string to someone who wants to shove everything in its mouth and chew on it would be a problem. I've heard swimming with dolphins does wonders for broken spines too.
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Old 09 April 2008, 02:45 PM
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There were more articles in Pubmed about amber than I expected. Most of them are about paleobotonists finding ancient micro-organisms in it (like Jurassic Park except plausible and boring.) Bleck!

I wonder if this is a case of transfering of a legend. In the late Middle Ages and Renaissance there was a belief that coral helped perserve the heath of mothers and babies. There are many portraits of babies with red coral necklaces and there are a few silver rattles with coral handles shaped for chewing that survive from that time.

I would love love love to see historical evidence of kids using amber for teething!

In the realm of living history reenactors I've heard many times that amber is too brittle to make a good teething device- it shatters into shards too readily. I wonder if a chunk of amber that hasn't been turned in to a little bead would work better. However, that's not what the OP is refering to.
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Old 09 April 2008, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
Is it possible that amber was used in former times as a kind of teething ring, given it's plastic-like character?
That would have made some pretty expensive teething rings.

Certainly before the era of industrial mining. BTW, the amber in those bracelets is probably reconstituted, i.e. made from smaller fragments which are pressed together. Such fairly large pieces would be quite exclusive in earlier ages.
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Old 09 April 2008, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aud 1 View Post
I've heard many times that amber is too brittle to make a good teething device- it shatters into shards too readily. I wonder if a chunk of amber that hasn't been turned in to a little bead would work better.
I actually have some chunks of raw amber (bought on the black market in Yantarniy, Kaliningrad Region, near the mining pits). They are fairly brittle, not that soft at all and certainly not something I'd give a baby to chew on.
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Old 10 April 2008, 01:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonny Mouse View Post
I can't speak to their efficacy in easing teething pain, though I'm skeptical. But the necklace and bracelet shown in the pic are serious choking hazards and should probably not be put on a baby for any reason.

Nonny
When my daughter was born, my grandma gave me a Virgin Mary medal and a aquamarine ring, that are both baby-sized. Apparently they've been in the family for several generations.
I put them on her while she was asleep, snapped a pic for grandma, and now they're in my jewelry box, where they'll stay.
The chain on the medal was so fine, it'd just take one good baby flail to break it, I don't know how it lasted this long.
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Old 10 April 2008, 09:49 AM
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I can understand that some amber liquid might be of help but I wouldn't advise giving it to small children.
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  #10  
Old 10 April 2008, 01:55 PM
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I searched a little more and found this site: Lithuanian Amber Museum - Amber in Medicine. If they have it right, amber has been used as a cure already in the ancient world, among others for "sore throat and palate" (worn as a medallion, according to Pliny the Younger). Judging by that, it seems to be a very old believe...

Don Enrico

P.S. I "ditto" everything said about giving necklaces to babies, of course!
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  #11  
Old 12 April 2008, 09:43 PM
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Hello Kitty

I've seen these in the baby section of a local pharmacy (I'm also in Germany), along with "violet root", a white porous stone-like thing on a string that's also supposed to help teething.

I bought an amber necklace from a street vendor in the Czech Republic, and the saleswoman claimed it helps the thyroid work better. I wonder how many potential customers this claim scared off.

HB
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  #12  
Old 31 July 2011, 02:28 AM
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I had several people recommend those to me when Grant started teething. I think they're very pretty, but I don't believe their efficacy and am extremely paranoid about choking so we never tried them. With these second molars coming in though, I would totally pay for a giant boulder of amber if it meant the pain/crabbiness would stop.
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  #13  
Old 01 August 2011, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mouse goddess View Post
When my daughter was born, my grandma gave me a Virgin Mary medal and a aquamarine ring, that are both baby-sized. Apparently they've been in the family for several generations.
I put them on her while she was asleep, snapped a pic for grandma, and now they're in my jewelry box, where they'll stay.
The chain on the medal was so fine, it'd just take one good baby flail to break it, I don't know how it lasted this long.
Probably because the previous generations did the same as you. . My sister and I got garnet necklaces when very small. My mother always said we were lucky they didn't match, because she'd've turned them into a pair of earrings for herself. They lived in her jewelry box.

Seaboe
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  #14  
Old 03 August 2011, 12:55 PM
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Amber teething necklaces are becoming popular here, too. Apparently the farmer's markets are selling them. The necklace I've seen on a baby was a more snug fit - the child would not have been able to get her hands under it and get it into her mouth.
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  #15  
Old 03 August 2011, 02:24 PM
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I still think that sounds like a bad idea. Either the string/chain/clasp on the necklace is weak and the baby could potentially break it and choke, or the string/chain/clasp is strong and the child could get strangled by it.
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  #16  
Old 15 January 2012, 06:18 AM
Barbara
 
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Dr. Weil on amber teething necklaces.

Quote:
I'm unfamiliar with amber teething necklaces, so I checked with Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., director of the fellowship at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, and an authority on botanical medicine. She told me that the use of these necklaces is not supported by modern science. She also noted she is not a huge fan of putting necklaces on infants due to the potential risk of choking any jewelry poses, including hazards from swallowing a bead if the necklace is broken.
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