Recently The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned parents about the dangers of using teething products that contain the popular numbing agent benzocaine. We are sharing the news here, as it is important for parents and family of teething children to know.
The FDA informs that benzocaine can have a rare, but serious side effect on children, and especially those under 2 years old. The local anesthetic can cause a condition called methemoglobinemia, which reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and can be life-threatening.
FDA officials requested that these products no longer be marketed or sold – or, at the least, that companies add warnings with up to date drug safety information to all oral health products containing benzocaine. You should be noticing the changes soon, and may have seen articles in CNN, Time, and other national news sources.
If the drug companies don’t comply, the FDA may take regulatory action to remove these products from the market.
So as a Parent, What Should You Do?
First, check your teething relief product labels to see if benzocaine is an active ingredient. If you find any, please throw them away.
If you use a teething remedy and your child becomes pale, or looks gray or blue in their lips and nail beds, has shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, lightheadedness, and rapid heart rate, they need immediate medical attention.
Dr. Frank Sierra states, “As to what you should do to soothe your baby’s gums, check out the video that the FDA posted a video on YouTube titled ‘Do Teething Babies Need Medicine on Their Gums? No.’ The video tells parents to gently rub a child’s gums with a finger or let the child chew on a firm rubber teething ring.”
We will continue to share important health topics for your children, especially in the areas of dentistry and oral health. Please share this information with your friends and family.