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  • Writer's pictureKatie Carney

Which teething toys are the best?

Updated: Mar 17, 2019

A typical developing baby will begin to explore their environment by putting things in their mouth around 2-4 months of age. This is often referred to as mouthing and it is very important for the development of oral skills.

Why is this important?

  • Mouthing pushes the gag reflex from the front of the tongue to the back of the tongue. When a baby is born their gag reflex is on the front 1/3 of the tongue unlike an adult gag reflex which is located in the back 1/4th of our tongue.

  • Mouthing helps a baby's teeth to erupt, the pressure from biting and chewing helps your baby's teeth to pop through.

  • Mouthing normalizes sensitivity in the oral cavity, when children mouth toys they become used to having things other than their tongues in their mouth. This is important for when a child begins to eat solid food as well as for tooth brushing.

  • Mouthing allows your child to practice up and down jaw movements which they will need for talking and eating solid foods.

  • Mouthing allows for your child to practice different tongue movements. Anytime anything is placed in our mouths, our tongues automatically move toward the item. So when a baby places a toy on the side of their mouth their tongue gets practice moving in this direction, this side to side movement is required to eat solid foods.

Which teething toys are the best?

Infants need to mouth toys in the front of their mouths as well as in the back and sides of their mouth. Most infant teethers only allow children to mouth the toy in the front of their mouth. But you want to provide your child with sensory experiences all over their mouth. Teething toys that have a longer arm allow your child to bite in the back molar area. Some of my favorites are: Comotomo, Beckman Tri-Chew, Chewy Tubes 'P' and 'Q' (the 'P' is good for all over mouthing and the 'Q' is good for mouthing in the front of the mouth), and chewy tubes (you can get textured or smooth- some children who are overly sensitive in their oral cavity will prefer the smooth one).

If your notice your child is not putting anything into their mouths by 4 months of age, assist your child by placing these toys in their mouth and letting them explore. If your child seems uninterested or adverse to mouthing an evaluation by a speech pathologist is recommended. Many children who I have seen for speech and/or feeding therapy did not mouth anything as babies, this can be a red flag for future delays in speech and feeding skills.

Katie is the owner of Katie Carney Speech Therapy, LLC, where she provides in-home play based and family centered speech and feeding therapy on the south side of Chicago. Katie has a passion for oral motor, feeding and speech development. To contact Katie visit her website at, call her at 773-914-2194, or email her at

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