We all want what’s best for our little ones, that’s a given. And whenever we see them in any kind of pain or distress it makes our hearts melt and we want to scoop them up in our arms and make everything all better.
It’s all part of this parenting gig.
One of those most standout moments that we can’t avoid is teething and boy is that painful for their little mouths. So what do we do? Most of us have always been told to turn to store bought teething gels to give them some relief. Easy peasy.
But now, the FDA is issuing warnings against using these for a really important reason.
Here’s the scoop: most over the counter teething els contain something called benzocaine, to which the FDA says, “benzocaine, a local anesthetic, can cause a condition in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood is greatly reduced. This condition, called methemoglobinemia, can be life-threatening and result in death.” They have updated their Drug Safety Communication to reflect this warning.
They have also noted that these teething gels aren’t really effective for teething pain anyway, and they have “serious safety concerns.” They are concerned about products such as Anbesol, Orajel, Baby Orajel and the generic and store brand equivalents, as they contain benzocaine.
In a statement released this week, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said, “the FDA is taking steps to stop use of these products in young children and raise awareness of the risks associated with other uses of benzocaine oral health products. The over-the-counter products include those mentioned above, as well as Cepacol, Chloraseptic, Hurricaine, Orabase, and Topex.”
The release continued, saying, “In addition to our letters to companies who make these products, we urge parents, caregivers and retailers who sell them to heed our warnings and not use over-the-counter products containing benzocaine for teething pain.”
So what are all of these teething gels on the market’s next steps?
They will need to comply with the requests of the FDA and if they don’t comply, they will be forced to take “regulatory action to remove these products from the market.”
Of course, we’re all wondering what to turn to now when our babies experience teething pain. It’s looking like natural remedies such as teething rings are the way to go with this one and turning towards anything at your local drug store shouldn’t be on that list. The FDA is also cautioning against homeopathic teething tablets for the same reasons.
Hopefully, the companies that we’ve trusted for so long that make these teething gels will follow suit and be able to make quick changes to these handy products that we know and love.
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