The FDA issued a warning this week about the use of teething and gum pain relievers containing benzocaine for babies and toddlers. Dr. Ally Deering-Anderson is a clinical associate professor at UNMC’s College of Pharmacy and agrees with that decision that the products not be used for children age 2 and under.
Dr. Deering-Anderson says, “It has this weird side effect and it can damage hemoglobin, the part of the blood that carries oxygen. Once you are about two you don’t get that side effect or if you do it is so minor it doesn’t hurt you. But, the little ones it can hurt them pretty badly.”
There are several natural alternatives available. Dr. Deering-Anderson says one of the best methods is to wrap your finger around a rough wash cloth, wet it with cold water and rub it on the babies gums. If the child is eating solid food she also recommends giving them a cold slice of watermelon to chew on. She says you will notice a change in the child almost immediately. Commercial teething rings are also good but make sure they are sturdy enough so the child can’t puncture them and get the materials inside in their mouth.