Natural Remedy to Dangerous Baby Teething Gels

by Sarah Healthy Pregnancy, Baby & Child, Natural RemediesComments: 72

The FDA recently issued its third warning about benzocaine, the active ingredient in baby teething gels like Anbesol and Baby Orajel.

Under certain conditions, benzocaine can trigger a rare and sometimes fatal blood condition called methemoglobinemia which causes dangerously low oxygen levels in the blood with resulting symptoms of ashen, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips and fingernail beds, shortness of breath, headache, light-headedness and rapid heart rate possible.

Problems with benzocaine were first announced in 2006 and since then, 29 cases of methemoglobinemia have been reported 19 of which were in children and 15 of those in children under 2.

Another warning for the active ingredient in baby teething gels occurred in 2011.

The scary symptoms triggered by benzocaine in baby teething gels can occur within minutes or even hours. Methemoglobinemia can occur the first time the product is used or much later after several uses even when the child appeared fine previously.

Of course, if your child experiences any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help immediately.

A better course of action would be to avoid use of these dangerous baby teething gels and utilize non-toxic remedies that are safe and effective with no risk of fatal blood conditions.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a chilled teething ring or gently massaging your child’s gums with your finger as alternative ways to provide relief.

While these methods may seem safer, I personally didn’t want my children chomping on plastic or anything that might introduce another chemical danger like BPA to their vulnerable little bodies.

Massaging the gums does work but is not always practical if you are trying to get your baby to sleep and he won’t lie still due to teething discomfort.

Homeopathy Helps With Baby Teething

In cases where you just need fast help with teething pain, try homeopathic teething pills.   These tiny white pills are sweetened with lactose, a sugar abundant in breastmilk rather than white sugar or artificial sweeteners.

They also dissolve with no chewing, so even babies with no teeth can easily take them.  As a bonus, homeopathic teething pills are quite inexpensive like many homeopathic remedies I’ve used.

I can’t tell you how many times I had a crying, fussy child in discomfort from teething pain who calmed down and went to sleep within minutes of having a couple of these tiny homeopathic pills placed under the tongue!

My husband and I used to call homeopathic teething pills “magic pills” because of how amazingly fast and effective they were.  For any homeopathy doubters out there, the effect is not placebo either, as a baby who is still nonverbal wouldn’t even know what this meant!

So skip the dangerous, over the counter baby teething gels and other remedies containing benzocaine and other chemicals to soothe your teething child.

Try homeopathy instead.  Hopefully, you will be as delighted as we were with the nontoxic, effective results!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


FDA Warns About Benzocaine in Baby Teething Gels

Picture Credit

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Comments (72)

  • Elizabeth

    You might want to do proper research before claiming a recall, Hyland’s clearly states on their site they have never been recalled and explain how medically extracted belladonna has been used for 100s of years and has no negative side effects, it’s also approved by many doctors pediatricians and the fda

    March 17th, 2016 3:06 am Reply
  • Katrina Bissell via Facebook

    I loved Hylands, it was hard to find for a while there was a problem with belladonna poisoning (they reformulated) but I rarely used them and only a couple tablets at a time and it still worked. Definitely love amber above all.

    May 16th, 2014 12:33 pm Reply
  • Sarah Lenard Lancaster via Facebook

    Hylands is great, but an amber necklace is the absolute BEST for pain relief. My 6yo was up crying at night when her molars were coming in (the baby was teething, too). I got them both amber. The baby slept by the second night, and my older daughter said her pain was completely gone.

    May 16th, 2014 9:41 am Reply
  • Jennifer Love via Facebook

    I use Hylands, they’re great for teething and colds.

    May 16th, 2014 4:56 am Reply
  • Cassie Haga Meadows via Facebook

    I’ve used both baby oragel and these teething tablets on all 3 of my kids. I’m a nurse and had no idea about the danger of benzocaine.

    May 16th, 2014 1:41 am Reply
  • Michelle Karwatt Anstadt via Facebook

    My daughter has used these with all her babies and is expecting baby #6 in aug, they really do help!

    May 15th, 2014 10:50 pm Reply
  • Heather Felice Walker via Facebook

    We love Hylands! I have recommended them for years!

    May 15th, 2014 10:17 pm Reply
  • Jamie Lynn via Facebook

    I used Hylands teething tabs for my baby. In fact, I use Hylands vitamin c tablets and tiny cold tablets as well. Its a great brand!

    May 15th, 2014 10:14 pm Reply
  • Sunny L. Klang via Facebook

    I used Hyland’s products with my two girls. We are now using them for my grand baby. Hyland’Are great.

    May 15th, 2014 9:59 pm Reply
  • Aarika Harris via Facebook

    We use liquid calcium

    May 15th, 2014 9:59 pm Reply
  • Pamela J. Betz-Baron via Facebook

    We used Hyland’s Teething Tablets with both of our boys.

    May 15th, 2014 9:43 pm Reply
  • Tera

    Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The words in your article seem to be running off the screen in Chrome.
    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let
    you know. The layout look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon.
    Many thanks

    December 13th, 2013 8:56 pm Reply
  • syd

    the hylands teething tablets were recalled for causing siezures…

    May 22nd, 2013 8:58 pm Reply
  • Sue K

    Just an FYI, Hyland’s teething tablets was recalled due to the belladonna that is in the product. It’s toxic. Here’s the FDA article:

    January 23rd, 2013 11:51 pm Reply
  • Christi

    Sarah–any thoughts on Succinic Acid affects from teething necklaces? Are the necklaces safe in terms of the release of the acid? The only info I’m finding is speculation. And everyone is concerned about the choking factor. I just want to know if the acid is safe, as apparently it is connected to Reye’s Disease from aspirin. But maybe not in the amber?



    November 10th, 2012 5:10 pm Reply
  • Maggie Allen

    I would strongly recommend that prior to posting information about the safety of teething tablets, that you do better research. Just becuse its “homeopathic and natural” does not mean it is safe. The FDA recalled Hyland’s and AAP has a warning about belladonna containing teething tablets. Belladonna is the basis of opium and dose amounts were found to be inconsistent between batches. Try infant tylenol instead!

    October 16th, 2012 6:05 pm Reply
    • Lin

      I suggest you yourself, do your research sir, since Belladonna and Opium are from completely different botanical families. Belladonna IS NOT THE BASIS OF OPIUM

      August 7th, 2015 2:45 am Reply
  • Marie

    August 29th, 2012 4:18 pm Reply
  • Megan

    aaaaw just when I need it this popped bac k up at bottom of a page i was reading. Thanks. get this. she stated teething 3 weeks ago and is just getting really fussy

    August 29th, 2012 4:14 pm Reply
  • Jeanne Melaugh

    In 2010, the FDA issued a warning about this “natural” teething gel, as it contained belladona.

    June 28th, 2012 2:48 am Reply
  • Pingback: Can I Give Anbesol to a Baby? FDA Warning Suggests No

  • Megan

    great will try when my 1 1/2 week old gets to that point. thanks!!!!!!

    June 6th, 2012 11:36 am Reply
  • Tricia Barry Kelly via Facebook

    Thanks so much for the tip. Wouldn’t you know it, I bit my lip the other day and now have 2 canker sores that are killing me. I need to see if I have cloves in my pantry. Thanks again!

    June 6th, 2012 11:21 am Reply
  • Jacalyn

    I just nursed my daughter more when she was teething and didn’t really need much else. Good to know about the pulls though for when other Moms ask for advice :)

    June 6th, 2012 10:19 am Reply
  • Annette

    i used teething tablets with both my children. They are amazing!

    June 6th, 2012 9:02 am Reply
  • Marlene

    My 2 y.o. has teethed without problems so far, but he’s got 4 more molars to go, so I’ll keep Hyland’s in mind just in case. Thanks for the great article! =)

    June 6th, 2012 2:47 am Reply
  • Kim

    Hylands teething tablets are a great product! We used them with our babies. But we also had an opportunity to get some feedback from our older son, who took some for teething pain around age 6 or so! He reported that they did indeed help with the pain, and he asked for more whenever his teeth hurt again.

    June 5th, 2012 4:20 pm Reply
  • Nicole, The Non-Toxic Nurse

    Is the recall/stop in production on these teething tablets over? If so, hooray! I used them with my daughter, but just as she was getting molars there was a massive recall and they stopped making them. I remember there being valid safety concerns with Hyland’s equipment not measuring the tablet’s ingredients accurately. I hope they have gotten their issues remedied (since belladonna is not something you want your child having in more than homeopathic quantities). I felt these were the safest alternative for my baby and they worked well too.

    I just checked the Hyland’s website, and the stop in production IS over! I guess it is safe for me to have another baby now;-) I am only patially kidding–my daughter had a horrible time with teething. Thanks for letting me know, Sarah!

    June 5th, 2012 3:49 pm Reply
  • Marie

    Amber Necklaces and anklets / bracelets available here

    June 5th, 2012 12:03 pm Reply
  • Alexis

    I have recently introduced raw milk products into my family’s diet about a week ago. Everything has been going good until last night. My 2 and a half year old son vomited in the middle of the night out of nowhere and really scared my husband and I. We have been eating raw cheese, butter, milk, cream, and kefir. I made my own home made sour cream two days ago. I used the oven as a warm spot with the oven light on. I had to use the oven for dinner but I tried to make sure the oven was cooled down enough to put the sour cream back in. After I let the cream cool in the fridge, I ate it and I thought it tasted a little funny but my husband ate it and he thought it tasted fine. I thought maybe it was because it was my 1st time making and I needed to get used to it or something. My entire family ate the cream yesterday and by night time my husband had a little diarrhea and then my son vomited. I just don’t know what happened or what’s going on? You think maybe the oven was too warm and it killed the good bacteria and let the bad bacteria grow? I don’t want to stop using the raw milk products at all. Since going on the GAPS diet my husband has lost 25 pounds without even trying to lose weight and his energy levels have skyrocketed. My son’s face which had a little eczema is almost gone. Please let me know what you think. My son is acting totally normal and hasnt vomited today at all. A little fever though at 100.0. Me and my youngest, hes 1, we’re both fine. No diarrhea or anything. I know you’re not a doctor but you are knowledgeable in this area so I’d really like your opinion. Thank you.

    June 5th, 2012 10:51 am Reply
  • Jennifer

    Sarah, thank you so much for posting this! My family has used these and I recommend them to my patients all the time (I’m a chiropractor). The same wonderful results I get from my little patients as you described here and many parents who now have a better night’s sleep. On a side note–we love your site and recommend it daily. We became WAP chapter leaders in January and so many people in our community are learning the benefits of traditional food preparation and eating. It’s wonderful to see the transformation!

    June 5th, 2012 9:30 am Reply
  • Jason

    We use Hylands with our 3rd just as we had the first 2 and they work great. When I researched the voluntary pulling them off the shelf, it was due to process controls, not anyone actually being affected. But a couple months ago when my wife bought them at the local Hy-Vee, they told her she had to wait to talk to the pharmacist first. So he comes out and warns her how dangerous they are because they have poison in them, and do we really want our kids ingesting poison? She was so caught off guard, she didn’t know what to say. I would have loved to ask if he makes the same warning to everyone buying toothpaste with fluoride or warn people not to take their meds with tap water filled with chlorine and/or fluoride. Needless to say, we are using them especially since my 13 month old has 4 molars coming in :(

    June 5th, 2012 8:42 am Reply
  • Kimberly

    I just LOVE those homeopathic teething tablets……it has worked wonders on both of my girls! It is an infant staple in our home.

    June 5th, 2012 12:02 am Reply
  • Rachel Stanton Jimenez via Facebook

    Joy, I didn’t know about amber necklaces when my kids were babies but several of my friends swear by them. Plus they’re super cute :)

    June 4th, 2012 10:19 pm Reply
  • Rachel Stanton Jimenez via Facebook

    Joy, I didn’t know about amber necklaces when my kids were babies but several of my friends swear by them. Plus they’re super cute :)

    June 4th, 2012 10:19 pm Reply
  • Jen Sperl

    I am really glad I selected the notification box on follow up comments! So many great tips! I am going to try the coconut oil on a q-tip with ground clove. We use coconut oil for just about everything! And just to go into a little more detail about the teething necklace – We also got one by “Inspired by Finn” on Amazon. We literally had a different baby after just an hour or so of wearing it. I would highly encourage taking if off their neck for sleep even though that is when parent’s want the relief the most. Ours wraps around her ankle twice and fastens perfectly and we very rarely experience her waking up with teething pain now. It has been such a blessing.

    June 4th, 2012 7:50 pm Reply
  • Kathy

    The problem with benzocaine is parent’s overdosing their kids. Same with homeopathic remedies. If you just read and follow the directions for all medical or natural remedies you use, you will be safer than ODing your poor little baby! That goes for herbals, homeopathics, advil, tylenol, benzocaine. Just use common sense, follow the directions, and don’t overdo any remedies! Babies should not need much medicine, natural or synthetic.

    June 4th, 2012 6:32 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Tricia this is best for older kids though. I prefer the homeopathic teething tablets for the younger ones.

    June 4th, 2012 4:55 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Tricia when my kids have a sore spot on the inside of their mouth anywhere, I put a bit of coconut oil on the end of a Q-tip and put a bit of ground cloves from the spice cabinet on the coconut oil (so it sticks nicely) and press it on the spot. Cloves relieves pain fast.

    June 4th, 2012 4:54 pm Reply
  • Janet Bennett

    Neglected to mention that paregoric was basically opium. Used to be easy to get, then we hd to sign for it, then it got pulled off the market.

    June 4th, 2012 4:46 pm Reply
  • Harmony

    I would wet my daughter’s cotton washcloths with filtered water, roll them and fold them to look like a ring, then cover them with something and place them in the freezer. She loved chomping on these.

    June 4th, 2012 4:42 pm Reply
  • Janet Bennett

    Old days report: Paregoric was a very common teething remedy. When I was in college (1947) I couldn’t have gotten through wisdom teeth without it. Used it for my kids too. One day my litte Peter was on his back in the playpen and I leaned in to rub paregoric on his gums. I had put the little bottle in my shirt pocket and didn’t realize the cap was loose. As I bent over, a stream of paregoric poured down into his open crying mouth! I thought I’d killed him – one of many times I was sure I’d killed one of my kids.

    Paregoric was also an ingredient in a marvelous anti-diarrhea/flu medicine – 1 tablespoon worked in instants. I got really sick one time at one of my husband’s conventions. Took to my bed in the hotel but at about 4 o’clock I talked him into driving me to get some of the whatever-it-was and by 7 pm I was at the banquet and ate a wonderful meal.

    Can’t do either of those any more.

    June 4th, 2012 4:31 pm Reply
  • Danielle

    There’s also an alternative for babies who are allergic to dairy–bc believe it or not, there’s DAIRY in Hyland’s tablets! why!? idk, but we were lucky to find Humphrey’s Teething Tablets which are dairy free 😀
    they are also magic pills. i stashed one in my purse, one in our diaper bag, my husband had a bottle with him… they worked WONDERS :) Our son didn’t like anything but me being in his mouth (no teethers, pacis, etc) so the tablets saved our sanity lol…

    June 4th, 2012 2:56 pm Reply
  • Stacey Gorham via Facebook

    We use the teething tablets! Fabulous!

    June 4th, 2012 2:56 pm Reply
  • Sarah

    I am allergic to Benzocaine for topical things. I had not heard of these problems. I am grateful for the allergy. I have steared clear of the gels for my children because of it! What about Hyland’s teething gel?

    June 4th, 2012 2:18 pm Reply
  • Lori Rowland Taylor via Facebook

    When our youngest was itty-bitty and had colic, we used Dr. Christopher’s Kid-e-Col tincture: catnip and fennel in a veg glycerin. It not only helped relieve the colic symptoms, but also worked on his gums when he teethed. Great stuff.

    June 4th, 2012 2:04 pm Reply
  • Carrie

    Bethany, Hylands had a recall on their product after this incident. They were off the shelves for awhile, but came back. We used them on my daughter and they were wonderful. My son won’t take them. We don’t do the amber necklaces, no matter how well they work, due to religious/spiritual issues.
    The mesh feeders are a lifesaver, as I put frozen fruit in them, and they chew, chop and gobble them up, making the littles happy.

    June 4th, 2012 1:04 pm Reply
  • Roseann Ligenza-Fisher via Facebook

    Thanks Kate…I didn’t see your posts above.

    June 4th, 2012 12:56 pm Reply
  • Bethany

    When I was pregnant my doula told me that there had been a problem with the Hyland’s teething tablets, something about some tablets containing too much of certain ingredients and I think some children even died…I think it was the belladonna poisoning. We never used them; we didn’t use anything other than cold, wet washrags.

    June 4th, 2012 12:30 pm Reply
  • Kate Tietje via Facebook

    Yes, clove can work on babies but dilute it (see recipe above). This same cream can work for any oral pain issues, including adults.

    June 4th, 2012 12:25 pm Reply
  • Jen Sperl

    Did you know that Hyland’s teething tablets have belladonna in them? It is a sedative. Boiron Camilia Teething Relief does not – and actually works much better than hylands for my little teether! Also – I was late on the baltic amber teething necklace train! SO very glad I got on in time for molars cutting!

    June 4th, 2012 12:09 pm Reply
    • Bethany L.

      We LOVE Boiron Camilia and teething necklaces too!

      June 5th, 2012 7:40 pm Reply
  • Heather TenKley

    Hylands’s tablets work great I used them on both of my sons. My sister in law came over with a tooth ache one day at I gave her some and it actually worked on that too.

    June 4th, 2012 11:59 am Reply
  • Roseann Ligenza-Fisher via Facebook

    I use clove oil when I have a toothache or a canker sore. Cloves provide pain relieve as well as being antiseptic. Would clove oil work on a baby or would it be too strong? I started using it after my kids already had their teeth.

    June 4th, 2012 11:59 am Reply
  • Joy Taylor via Facebook

    I am interested in using Amber necklaces/bracelets..for teething and other pains! Do you have any knowledge of these and personal experiences using them

    June 4th, 2012 11:55 am Reply
    • Samantha

      I got my daughter an “inspired by Finn” Baltic Amber teething necklace and it has worked awesome!! Better than any homeopathic teething liquid, gel or tablets we’ve tried (including Hylands). I’ve lost it twice, and realized those times that it is a necessity in our house! :) You can sometimes find good deals on Ebay or sometimes they have sales on their website. The lighter in color and more cloudy the better.

      PS- We also do Rescue Remedy when her teeth are hurting and it seems to help!

      June 4th, 2012 2:25 pm Reply
      • Diana

        Hi Samantha

        Different country and therefore may be a different formula, but the Rescue Remedy I have contains alcohol – worth checking to make sure you don’t have a happy drunk on your hands 😉

        June 4th, 2012 10:32 pm Reply
        • JCF

          There is a rescue remedy for kids, which does not contain alcohol.

          June 5th, 2012 11:30 pm Reply
    • deena

      we are also huge fans of the amber necklace, and also ordered ours through inspired by finn. i was unable to buy hyland’s and ended up with a different brand. so far we have been underwhelmed with their effects, though i do successfully use other homeopathic remedies and am a fan of homeopathy in general. but when it comes to teething, i’m fairly certain the amber necklaces will always be the solution in our house :)

      June 4th, 2012 9:32 pm Reply
      • JCF

        We also have bought amber teething necklaces from Inspired by Finn for two of my children. They work so well, and I really wish we would have had one for my first, who had a horrible time teething. I NEVER give baby Tylenol or Motrin to my kids (my second and third kids have never had it at all), but I gave it to my first all the time for teething, because the poor kid would scream from teething pain until he threw up. I remember a particularly horrible 8 hour car ride with him–he screamed the whole way, and his poor mouth was bleeding from the tooth that was breaking through the gums. I really wish we would have had an amber necklace for him at the time!

        June 5th, 2012 11:33 pm Reply
    • Stephanie

      I have an amber necklace for my 15 month old and LOVE it. If I forget to put it in in them AM when he’s teething he will pull his ears and fuss, but that stops when I get it on him. I also do the homeopathy when it gets really bad and only one molar has really given us problems so far. I highly recommend the necklaces…got mine on Etsy!

      June 6th, 2012 4:47 pm Reply
  • Erin

    We use Oxyfresh Dental Gel – it has wonderful things like camomile & aloe for soothing as well as healing.

    June 4th, 2012 11:49 am Reply
  • Becky Gutcher Hyatt via Facebook

    Hylands Teething Tablets were nothing short of miraculous when my oldest was teething. I whole-heartedly recommend them!

    June 4th, 2012 11:45 am Reply
  • Annemarie Scolari via Facebook

    Pulsatilla and hypericum work well, also. My daughter had terrible diaper rash from the Hyland’s, although it worked.

    June 4th, 2012 11:43 am Reply
  • Tricia Barry Kelly via Facebook

    Thankfully my 6 kids are way past teething, but we do deal with canker sores occasionally and have used Orajel when they are really bad. Had not heard of those warnings, very scary. Do you have any recommendations for canker sore relief?

    June 4th, 2012 11:39 am Reply
    • Sarah

      I used to get canker sores frequently; as many as one per month. It was terrible. Then I read that they can be caused by SLS in toothpaste. I switched to an SLS-free toothpaste and have had only one or two canker sores in the intervening eight years. Try it! You can get SLS-free toothpaste at the health food store or at an on-line drug store like iHerb.

      June 4th, 2012 3:41 pm Reply
    • brandi

      I use a product called Ora5 which works excellent for canker sores. I’ve only been able to find it online. It acts as a liquid band aide but also heals it quickly. I have noticed that if the sore gets really red and irritated, when i apply the Ora5 with a Q-tip it does sting for a few minutes, but then about a half hour later, I could enjoy a meal pain-free! I also make sure i apply it to the very first signs of one forming, and it completely stops it from growing. There are only 4 ingredients: copper sulphate, iodine, potassium iodide and alcohol 1.5%. It really works well!!

      June 4th, 2012 11:09 pm Reply
  • Allison

    I use the Hyland’s teething tablets for my little guy and they work wonders!! He won’t keep them in his mouth though, so I drop them into a syringe, suck up a little warm water to disolve them, and then squirt it in his mouth :)

    June 4th, 2012 11:38 am Reply
  • Kate Tietje via Facebook

    Yes. :) Here’s the link:

    June 4th, 2012 11:36 am Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    Hi Kate, do you have a post on this? If so, can you place the link here? Thanks!

    June 4th, 2012 11:35 am Reply
  • Kate Tietje via Facebook

    I make my own with coconut oil, cocoa butter, and cloves or clove oil. Safe and healthy. :)

    June 4th, 2012 11:33 am Reply

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