I’ve seen babies wearing amber necklaces recently, and I was wondering if there was any research on wearing them for teething (or any ailment).—Jordan
I have also noticed this fad. The idea with these necklaces is that, in some way, they will reduce teething pain. My personal view — which actually you didn’t really ask for, but here it is — is that people overattribute crankiness to teething. Kids are teething for a decade! It can’t be everything. But I digress.
There is nothing significant to recommend these necklaces and lots of reasons to avoid them. For one, they are a strangulation risk (case report here — strangulation avoided, but still scary). They are also not effective.
This paper attempts to evaluate what it refers to as “The claim most closely resembling science” about the efficacy of the necklaces. This is the claim that sucking on amber will release succinic acid, which will then have anti-inflammatory effects. Let’s put aside the question of whether we think having your baby suck acid out of beads seems like a good idea. In fact, what the authors find is that exposure to saline does not release the succinic acid from the beads and also that, even if it did, this acid doesn’t have the proported anti-inflammatory properties. Fail, and fail.
I could go on! But let’s just leave it at: don’t give your baby a strangulation-risk necklace that doesn’t do anything.