The FDA recently issued a safety announcement that warns parents against using benzocaine teething products in children under the age of two years. The use of these products (including Orajel, Baby Orajel, Orabase, and Anbesol) can lead to a serious condition known as “methemoglobinemia,” which involves the inability of the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells to transport oxygen to the body’s cells and tissues. Fortunately, there are a number of alternative treatments to benzocaine teething gels, including chilled rubber rings that babies can chew on to soothe their teething discomfort. Solid frozen rings, on the other hand, should be avoided since they can cause injury to baby’s tender gums. Parents can also massage their baby’s gums with clean fingertips.
P.S. A good teething remedy is a wet washcloth that is twisted into a rope and set in the freezer for a few minutes. Teething babies can chew on the washcloth until it returns to room temperature.