Dentists prefer you stick to teething rings or toys over food. Gel-based teething rings that can be chilled in the fridge are particularly soothing, because they're cooling to the gums. Food-based teethers can leave a residue that can cause tooth decay. Anytime you eat or drink anything other than water, you produce acids that draw minerals out of the teeth. When you don't eat or drink for three hours, those minerals get replenished, but that can't happen if a baby is constantly gnawing on teething biscuits or sipping on a bottle full of anything but water. Also, never give your teething baby foods like chilled carrots or apple slices, which can be a choking hazard. --Janine Musick
Originally published in the September 2000 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009.