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 teething 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. Chewing on a synthetic substance might introduce another chemical danger like BPA to their vulnerable little bodies. Swapping one chemical cocktail (teething gels) for another (plastic) isn’t a smart idea.
Massaging the gums does help but is not always practical. For example, if you are trying to get your baby to sleep and (s)he won’t lie still due to teething discomfort, this approach is not going to work!
Homeopathy as a Teething RemedyIn cases where you just need fast help with teething pain, try homeopathic baby calming tablets. These tiny white pills are sweetened with lactose, a sugar abundant in breastmilk. No white sugar or artificial anything is added.
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 this homeopathic teething remedy “magic pills” because of how amazingly fast and effective they were. For any homeopathy doubters out there, the effect is not placebo either. A baby who is still nonverbal wouldn’t even know what this meant!
So skip the dangerous, over the counter gels and other teething remedies containing benzocaine and other toxic chemicals to soothe your irritable child.
Try homeopathy instead. Hopefully, you will be as delighted as we were with the nontoxic, effective results!
It’s certainly worth a shot!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
FDA Warns About Benzocaine in Baby Teething Gels
More Information on Nutrition and Oral Health
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. Her work is dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household. She is a sought after lecturer around the world for conferences, summits, and podcasts.
Her work has been covered by major media including USA Today, ABC, NBC, and many others.