To ease your baby's teething, reach for rubber rings and chilled food like bananas, but avoid homeopathic teething tablets. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these products can contain dangerous amounts of toxins that pose serious risks for young ones.
Use of such products can cause “seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation,” according to the news release.
Through drug analysis, FDA was able to find inconsistent amounts of the toxic substance belladonna in particular homeopathic teething tablets. In November 2016, three products were already recalled. Currently, the U.S. agency is working on reaching another company to recall its teething tablets, which they found to have the substance.
“The body’s response to belladonna in children under 2 years of age is unpredictable, and puts them at unnecessary risk,” says Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “We recommend that parents and caregivers not give these homeopathic teething tablets to children and seek advice from their health care professional for safe alternatives.”
It’s not just teething tablets either. The FDA warns against the use of any and all homeopathic teething products that claim to provide relief from teething symptoms in babies. The FDA has yet to find whether these products have any proven health benefit.
In the Philippines, homeopathic teething gels can labeled as “natural.” Homeopathic teething products sold in the US are also available to Pinoy parents via online sites. In light of the FDA's warning above, we recommend consulting your doctor before giving it to your child.
Dr. Carina Mabanta-De los Reyes, former president of the Philippine Pediatric Dental Society Inc., further advises against teething gels because most are sweet-flavored. It only encourages early consumption of sugary foods, a cause of early dental decay.
“What I recommend is to rub the gums in the area of the unerupted tooth with a washcloth soaked in cold water,” Dr. Mabanta-De los Reyes told Smartparenting.com.ph. “Putting mild pressure on the area encourages eruption, and cold temperature relieves pain and itchiness.”
Here are other things you can do to make your child feel better while he’s teething:
Give your child something to chew on, like a rubber teething ring. You could chill it in the fridge (not the freezer -- you don’t want it to be rock hard) before giving to your child to provide more relief. Avoid liquid-filled ones as they could leak.
If your baby is already eating solid foods, cold food can bring a lot of relief, too. Try chilled bananas, cold fruit puree or plain yogurt. Make sure to watch your baby while she’s munching on a banana to avoid any big pieces breaking off, posing as potential choking hazards.
If teething is causing your child discomfort, consult with his pedia for the medication he can take. He can be prescribed infant paracetamol. When it doubt, see your baby's doctor.
Read more about your baby’s teething in Smart Parenting’s quick guide found here.