Benzocaine Is Not Recommended For Teething Babies

The FDA has reissued a warning about the use of benzocaine gels or liquids to relieve teething pain for children under two years old. Parents should not use over-the-counter medications containing benzocaine for children under two years old because they are at particular risk for the rare but serious disease of methemoglobinemia, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is greatly reduced. The most severe cases can result in death. Adults with heart disease or breathing problems and smokers are also at greater risk for the disease.

Concern is fueled by the serious potential outcomes and the difficulty parents may have recognizing the signs and symptoms of methemoglobinemia when using these products at home. The symptoms may not always be evident or attributed to the condition. They include pale skin, lips and nail beds; shortness of breath; and fatigue.

Instead of using the benzocaine teething products, the FDA advises to follow these recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ for treating teething pain:

  • Give the child a teething ring chilled in the refrigerator.
  • Gently rub or massage the child’s gums with your finger to relieve the symptoms of teething.

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Source and Photo Credit: American Dental Association