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Dean George is the Marketing Specialist and Content Creator for Dental Insurance
Store and its social media channels. He is a regular contributor to Agent Straight Talk, the
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Baby Teething Bites - But Doesn't Have To

May 30, 2018

By Dean George

Before the terrible twos and the terrifying teenage years parents deal with something just as challenging: the bloodcurdling screams of toddler teething. 


"Teething bites” is more than a bad pun or bumper sticker. Teething is a life phase like weaning, potty training and prepping your mini-me for their first flu shot or Novocain injection in the dental chair.

Last week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned parents of children two years or under about a popular numbing ingredient in teething gels used in products such as Baby Orajel. Baby Orajel contains benzocaine, a numbing agent often used in over-the-counter products to relieve pain from toothaches, canker sores and sore gums.

The pain-relieving benzocaine found in gum numbing products for teething babies can inhibit an oxygen-carrying protein in the blood and lead to methemoglobinemia.


Methemoglobinemia is a rare blood disorder that can cause shortness of breath, headache and rapid heart rate.

The FDA issued warnings about benzocaine in 2006, 2011 and 2014.  Of 119 cases linked to the rare blood disorder reviewed by officials in 2009 and 2017, the FDA claims four resulted in death.

Last week Baby Orajel manufacturer Church and Dwight Co, Inc. agreed to discontinue four Orajel teething products, including Baby Orajel and Orajel Medicated Teething Swabs.

A big motivation to comply was because the FDA reportedly threatened legal action against companies who didn’t “voluntarily” remove their products containing benzocaine for young children.

Since any possible lawsuit by the FDC leveled against a private company would be funded by taxpayer dollars, this puts the taxpaying parents of teething toddlers in the potentially ludicrous position of helping to fund a lawsuit against a company that makes the product they need to help numb their crumb cruncher’s pain.

Fear not, reader – this too shall pass.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has discouraged the use of teething gels and creams because they wash out of baby mouths in minutes. Instead of pain numbing gels and creams the AAP recommends teething rings or massaging a baby’s gums.

I have heard that massaging a baby’s gums not only relieves the child’s pain, but is a surprisingly pleasant way for a parent to unwind.  For parents of pre-teens whose kids need braces, not so much.

For those who prefer commercial solutions like gels and creams, the free market and American ingenuity is here to save your day. There are a number of available products and home remedies to help with your toddler’s tooth troubles that don’t contain benzocaine.

For example, Babyganics has a gel pod made especially for teething infused with natural clove oil and stevia to soothe your little one’s irritated gums. Orajel also offers Baby Orajel Naturals that swaps benzocaine for eugenol (derived from the oil of clove plants).

There are also a variety of home remedies for those parents in touch with their inner-Martha Stewart or McGyver.

Home remedies range from cold washcloths dipped in water or breast milk, to teething jewelry, cold fruit and refrigerator-chilled teething rings.

WebMD also offers a Teething FAQ that offers some satisfyingly soothing tips for any teething tot.

Fortunately teething is just a phase, but instilling good oral health habits and helping kids avoid tooth trouble is easier with a comprehensive dental plan. To find plans available in your area, click here.

Thanks for reading Agent Straight-Talk, and for more helpful oral health tips that won’t set your teeth on edge, follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+ and LinkedIn.

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Copyright 2018, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC©

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