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FDA warns benzocaine gel teething products are unsafe, wants them off the market

When our tiny toddlers start teething, we often believe (incorrectly) that the only thing that can bring them and us relief can be found in a small tube in the back of our medicine cabinets. You know the one we’re talking about, it’s usually behind a box of band aids or next to the first aid kit. Orajel is the most popular brand, but there are numerous others on the market. Orajel and similar products are marketed as providing almost instant relief to teething children when applied to their gums.

Now experts are warning parents to stop using these types of products on their children that contain the chemical “benzocaine”. Not only are parents warned not to use the products, but the Food and Drug Administration is asking companies to voluntarily stop selling products for children 2 and under that contain the toxin. If manufacturers don’t stop selling products containing benzocaine, the FDA has threatened to take legal action.

Not only does the FDA believe that benzocaine doesn’t actually provide the relief it claims to, for years now the chemical has been linked to illnesses and deaths of children 2 and under. The concern over benzocaine stems from a “potentially life-threatening condition called methemoglobinemia, which reduces oxygen in the blood.” The FDA warned that homeopathic teething products also come with a number of adverse side effects.

This marks the fourth time the FDA has issued a warning for teething products, but it’s the first time its actually asked for a voluntary recall of all products containing benzocaine. For its part, Orajel’s manufacturer Church and Dwight Co. Inc has said that they will stop manufacturing the potentially harmful product.

To learn more about the dangers of teeth numbing products for toddlers and the FDA's recall, click here: