The Truth About Teething Gel From Our Children’s Dentistry Office

Childrens-DentistryIn our children’s dentistry office, we speak with a lot of parents that are at their wits end on how to help their baby to feel better while teething.  No parent wants to see their child suffer, and teething can be incredibly uncomfortable.  It makes babies fussy and at times – miserable.  The natural reaction is to look for ways to relieve their pain and teething gel has been the go to solution for decades.Unfortunately, teething gel can be dangerous to your baby.  The FDA issued a warning letting parents know there have been health risks associated with teething gel, some of which are fairly serious.  According to the FDA, the active ingredient in teething gel, viscous lidocaine, has been known to cause brain damage, heart problems, confusion, blurry vision, jitters, seizures, shaking, throwing up, and in some cases – death.  This is a frightening notion considering how many well-meaning parents use teething gel.Only some gels use viscous lidocaine.  Others, like Baby Orajel, use benzocaine.  This product has fewer side effects but can still reduce the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream.  In our children’s dentistry office, we warn parents that these products should only be used with the upmost caution and only as a last resort.  The risk of an overdose is simply too high.  Many parents will use these products repeatedly and even put it on a pacifier which only increases the chance of something going wrong.You can read the full FDA statement on their website where they go into more detail about various medications and anesthetics and the risk they pose to infants.  Basically, if your child is under two years old – try a natural remedy, whenever possible.As a children’s dentist, we recommend several natural solutions that are easy and inexpensive to try.  When your baby starts to teeth, they need something in their mouth that they can bite down on.  This motion helps them to feel better.  You can use several different things including a cold washrag from the house.  Rinse out the water and let them chew on it, and then chill it again.  You can also give your baby a teething ring.  Buy them at any drug store or a baby store, put it in a plastic bag and freeze it.  We recommend buying several so that you can always have one or two chilling while another is being used.  Try different sizes and shapes until your baby finds one that they like and are happy to chew on.  This will typically help them to feel much better.You can also help your baby to feel better by gently rubbing their gums.  Granted, if they already have some teeth this can leave your finger feeling sore and swollen.  To keep yourself safe, buy a rubber tip baby toothbrush and put it on your finger.  They can bite down on your finger while you are massaging their gums, and it won’t hurt at all. By trying these two, safe and natural alternatives, your baby can feel better without the risk.

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