Monday Health & Wellness: Homemade Teething Cream

Right, so, “teething cream” sounds super weird.  No?  But here’s the thing.  You can buy teething gel at the store.  I’m not entirely sure how to make a gel at home with safe ingredients…nor am I sure that it’s the most effective idea.

But last week we ran out of teething tablets.  They started putting child proof caps on the Hyland’s brand stuff, but who are they kidding…both my 2.5 and 4 year olds can pop that thing off like it’s nothing.  And if they do, and we don’t catch them immediately, they eat some.  Those tablets are lactose-based and they are sweet.  The kids know they are medicine but they will tell stories to get some: “I’m sick!  I’m teething!  I NEED MEDICINE!”  We have tried to keep them up high, but they are often sitting on my nightstand since that is where I use them most (at night, for the baby).  I ask a kid during the day to go fetch a diaper, not remembering they are sitting right there…and next thing I know, they’ve eaten 2 or 3 or 5.  (No, this can’t and hasn’t made them sick.)  Anyway, the point is, the teething tablets were gone.

Even though we have an amber teething necklace, which the boys wear 24/7 (although Daniel is no longer teething, he just likes it), there are still random times when the pain is enough to make Jacob edgy and restless, which makes for a poor night’s sleep.  Teething tablets have been the perfect answer to take away whatever dull ache or slight pain that keeps him up at night.  And then we ran out.

Creative genius that I am (ha?), I thought, “What can I use at home to help him?”  Because I did not want to run to the store.  I remembered that clove essential oil is good for teething pain, and I had that.  But what to pair with it….  Several minutes of brainstorming later, and one quick search for an ingredient I haven’t used in months, and I had my answer.

Teething cream.

This formula combines coconut oil, cocoa butter, and clove essential oil for a creamy, stick-to-the-gums, totally edible and safe cream that also happens to relieve pain.  Ideally, use a high quality, edible essential oil.  Very, very little would get to the baby with any given dose though…far less than one drop.  Buy the best you can but don’t worry too much.


  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. cocoa butter (food grade pure, not cocoa butter-based beauty product)
  • 12 drops clove essential oil


Add your coconut oil and cocoa butter to a small saucepan.

Place the pan on the stove over low heat until they are just melted.  Add your clove oil and stir well.

Pour into a 4-oz. glass jar and allow to cool completely.  (You can place the jar in the fridge to speed up this process, and can even store it there so the mixture is chilled when you initially give it to the baby.)  Interestingly, if left at room temperature, it stays a liquid.  If you put it in the fridge to solidify then remove it, it becomes a very soft solid.  This was unexpected.  I’d recommend storing it in the fridge so it’s cool for baby, and less messy.

To use, take a tiny amount and massage into the baby’s gums.  This can be used on adults with toothaches, too — it’s not just for babies!  Do be aware that clove oil isn’t safe in pregnancy, though (causes contractions), so don’t use it if you’re expecting.

That’s it!  So simple!


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**This post has been entered in Monday Mania at The Healthy Home EconomistWildcrafting Wednesday at Mind, Body, Sole, Healthy 2Day Wednesday.**

How do you relieve teething pain in your baby?


    • Angela says

      Just wanted to give a heads up that Whole Foods has it in their raw section. Actually they have the Cacao Butter which is essentially the same thing, just raw!

  1. Jessica K says

    This is truly a “”mom-gyver” moment! I love when moms (or dads) fix a problem in their home with sheer ingenuity, frugality, and the stuff on hand. Cheers to you Kate!

  2. Joy B. says

    I’m so thankful for this recipe! I’ll most definitely be using it when my littlest reaches that joyful stage :) I used teething tablets for my first two but always jump at the chance for something homemade.

  3. Andrea Scherer says

    I tried searching everywhere for clove oil for my son when he started teething (about 9 months ago). A Whole Foods employee cautioned me against using their brand in my son’s mouth/gums because it was was not food grade. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it elsewhere. Have you ran into this before? Where did you buy yours online? What brand?

    • Kate Tietje says

      Hi Andrea, I replied to someone above. If you can’t get good quality essential oil, I would take about a tbsp. of whole cloves, crush them, and steep them in the oils on warm for 3 – 4 hours, then strain through cheesecloth or something else that would get out all clove bits. Let that solidify and use as you would any other cream. :)

      • Kristy Fullmer says

        Yuo can buy food grade essential oils online at they have many high grade essential oils on their website.

    • says

      There really isn’t such a thing as “food grade” essential oils. It’s just a term that some companies use, even though most EOs shouldn’t be used internally unless under the supervision of a qualified aromatherapist. There are many brands that do not specify they are for internal use but are of the same quality as those who do.

      I know there are many different thoughts on EO use, but I usually ere on the side of caution and would also worry about using clove inside the mouth of a little babe. using on the jaw is just as effective, and clove should actually be avoided until after age two. (

      I much prefer Kate’s other method of using whole cloves and allowing them to steep in oil. I’ve found it works just as well on my DH who was dealing with tooth pain for awhile and tried both clove EO and crushed cloves in oil.

  4. Dawn says

    amazing! I didn’t find hyland’s tablets until my 3rd and now I buy them for every baby shower and new baby I know. this is fabulous! anything I can make at home makes me happy :)

  5. Sarah says

    I’ve successfully used ground cloves for teething since my baby first started getting sore gums at about 3 months old. I just wet a clean finger and dip it into the ground cloves then rub it over his gums. It usually stops the pain quickly and I don’t have to worry about him eating essential oils that might have traces of solvents from the extraction process.

    • Kate Tietje says

      Hi Sarah, thanks for your advice! It is important to be careful which brand of essential oils you choose, for sure. I believe Young Living and DoTerra don’t have solvents (or so they claim). In this case, the amount of essential oils is so tiny (0.5% of the finished cream) that I don’t think a tiny bit in baby’s mouth is dangerous. If you prefer, though, you could put crushed real cloves into the oils and let it steep on warm for 3 – 4 hours (I think about 1 tbsp. of cloves but don’t quote me…I haven’t tried this), strain it, and try that.

      • Brianna says

        What exactly do you mean by steep Kate? I have never done this before, I’m so excited that there is a natural way to make teething repellent cream!!

  6. says

    I love this! I’ve dont clove oil with a carrier oil a few times and wasn’t too happy with it because I didn’t feel like it was helping much. This is a great idea to make it nice and thick to stick! We just started using an amber teething necklace and so far it’s been awesome but next time I need to apply something topical I will try this! thanks!!

  7. Andrew Tiedje says

    This Is Awesome I know alot of Parents that will love this, Plus Ill keep it in my books for when we have lil ones teething Keep up the Good Work!

  8. Kaila says

    I haven’t been able to find a food grade cocoa butter. Mountain rose herbs says that theirs is organic and pure but it doesn’t say food grade. Would that be ok?

    • Vanessa says

      I have the Mountain Rose Herbs organic cocoa butter. I was about to make this, but wanted to double check if it is food-grade. If you click on the link that says “more info”, this is what I found: “Suitable for food and cosmetic use and makes an exquisite ingredient within culinary products, and especially chocolate.” So it is definitely safe to use.

  9. Crissi says

    Why do you use the Cocoa butter? Think it would work if I just used the Coconut Oil? My guess is that the Butter is used to dilute the taste of the clove oil…


  10. Amanda says

    Based on looking at your lovely pictures above, it looks like you measured out 1/4c of CO and cocoa butter while they were still solid? When a recipe calls for coconut oil I’m always confused if you measure it while solid or measure it when it’s melted. But for this recipe do I fill my 1/4 c measuring cup with solid CO and butter? Bear with me, I’m new to some of this and I’d love to try this recipe!

  11. Heather F says

    I tested this first on my own gums and can’t seem to taste any clove – I know clove is strong but I would expect if I can’t taste/feel anything I need to add more oil. Thoughts?

  12. says

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several emails with the same comment.

    Is there any way you can remove people from that service?

    • says

      I’m not sure what that would do to the texture, but you could try it. Some just use plain coconut oil (I think it is harder to keep on the gums, but it’s certainly fine).

  13. says

    Brilliant idea! This is absolutely helpful for many moms out there, thinking of the best alternative for curing a teething baby. Clove oil is definitely the most effective and safe homemade product that can be used for overall dental health including sore gums and toothache. Butter and coconut oil are amazing recipes, too. Thanks for sharing this, this is much appreciated.

  14. Mary Beth says

    I was hoping to see a response to a comment that was already posted awhile back by “Amanda”…here’s her question:
    “Based on looking at your lovely pictures above, it looks like you measured out 1/4c of CO and cocoa butter while they were still solid? When a recipe calls for coconut oil I’m always confused if you measure it while solid or measure it when it’s melted. But for this recipe do I fill my 1/4 c measuring cup with solid CO and butter? Bear with me, I’m new to some of this and I’d love to try this recipe!”

    I’ve actually tried this recipe once, measured both as solid, and my LO has loved it. However, did you measure both solid?? And if so, do you have any trouble with consistency between batches…especially with the Cocoa Butter??


    • says

      I do usually measure as solid, but I’ve cooked enough that what I measure is roughly the equivalent to what it would be liquefied — I’ve actually melted it after measuring and re-measured to test this! So if you are unsure, go ahead and melt to measure. As long as you have roughly equal parts of each though, it should be fine, even if the texture varies a little.

  15. Lesl says

    Hi Kate, quick question- I just made this for my 3 month old who is just starting with the gum pain (pre-teething). She loves it! But do you have any idea of the shelf life of this? I let it solidify in the fridge, but I have to keep it out now so that it is plyable enough to use (otherwise, it is too hard to even give her any). But if I keep it out in the cupboard, how long should it be good for?

  16. Kat says

    I love this for my little one who is 15 months, we normally leave it in the diaper bag, and if he sees it, he asks for it and usually wants more after I apply it, so i do. I am not sure what I did wrong, I followed the recipe and it stays a slightly soft solid state even left at room temp, though I should say I live in Maine so it has not been super warm since I have made it. It does seem to help his teething pain and discomfort so it doesnt matter. it works so well my MIL has asked for it for a friend who has a baby with sore gums. My husband has used it for a toothache as well. We both tried it anyway before we gave it to our then baby teether and it tastes pleasant, as I would expect. Thank you so much for this recipe it is awesome!


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