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It's completely normal and natural to be worried about the teething process and the pain your baby might be going through. We all want it to disappear as soon as possible, but there are some dangerous things you should never give to your teething baby.

Teething is often called a “sweet pain” because in no time, your baby will have a set of adorable little choppers the whole family will be proud of. Even the calmest and the happiest baby may become irritable during the tooth eruption. For most babies, this occurs between six and 12 months of age, for some babies even as early as three months. [12]

Your baby is anxious and cranky for days? She’s gnawing on everything at the reach of her hand, including her own toes? It’s more than obvious sign that the tooth is looming underneath. Discomfort comes and goes as each tooth emerges. It’s nice that parents want to ease the teething pain no matter what, but using some of the popular “remedies” can put your baby’s health at great risk.

Homeopathic teething tablets

The FDA issued a warning against the use of Hyland, and possibly other homeopathic teething tablets as they pose a risk to a baby’s health. The analysis showed these tablets contained notoriously high levels of belladonna plant — a potent poison well-known throughout the history. Some children even consumed Hyland tablets on their own because the containers did not have child resistant caps.[3]

Belladonna — also known as Deadly nightshade is an extremely toxic plant, just a few berries are potent enough to kill an adult. Just bear in mind that ancient Romans used belladonna for making poison-tipped arrows. A Swiss study on plant poisoning found that belladonna had caused more incidents than any other plant. [45]

This medication with a toxic substance has an unpredictable outcome in children younger than two years. Teething tablets were associated with serious side-effects including seizures and may be linked to 10 death cases. [6

Even after repeated warnings from the FDA [7, 8], it is still not enough. The products that endanger lives of our children are everywhere.

Teething gels containing Benzocaine

Over-the-counter liquid Benzocaine teething medications — including well-known Orajel, baby Orajel, Anbesol, Hurricaine, and Orabase — are not considered safe for teething infants. The FDA’s warning from 2011 against the use of teething gels containing Benzocaine for children younger than two years is still active as this gel poses our youngest at risk of methemoglobinemia — a serious condition that lowers the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream.

Besides teething pain treatment purposes, Benzocaine is the active anesthetic in many over-the-counter ointments such as treatment for oral ulcers, cough drops, and dental sprays used to numb the mucous membranes of the mouth. Since the FDA first warned the nation about potential dangers of Benzocaine in 2006, there were 29 reports of Benzocaine-induced methemoglobinemia, and 19 of these cases occurred in children. [910]

Amber teething necklaces

Baltic amber-bead bracelets and — more often — necklaces are widely used for managing teething pain in infants. The crunchy supporters around the world claim that the power of the beads comes from succinic acid release. Succinic acid is believed to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. People believe succinic acid leaches from the beads and is absorbed through a baby’s skin.

Several studies showed no evidence of any anti-inflammatory activity coming from the beads, meaning that the claims are actually scientifically rejected as false. [11

On the other hand, if the necklace breaks, the beads become an instant choking hazard. What strikes me most in another study on amber jewelry is the fact that many parents didn't use the necklaces for "analgesic properties" but as “a birth accessory and memory”. [12]

Many natural-mama blogs and websites support the use of amber teething necklaces regardless of the warnings, probably because they’re being paid for endorsements. It’s important to break this widespread myth by all means, and all professionals working with children have to get involved. When it comes to small children, jewelry is unnecessary and extremely dangerous.

Teething rings made of plastic

Plastic has had a bad reputation for a while now, and for a reason. When it comes in contact with our food, it can leach dangerous chemicals such as bisphenol-A and other endocrine disruptors — chemicals that at certain doses can interfere with hormone systems and cause birth defects, developmental disorders, and even cancer. [1314]

Most toys are made of plastic and it’s understandable — it’s durable, cheap, and colorful, but when it comes to things that are specially made for our children to put into their mouths, plastic shouldn't be an option.

Several studies over the years found endocrine disrupting chemicals in plastic teething toys for babies, and these chemicals actually leached out of the products. One study detected major endocrine activity in two out of 10 plastic teethers. One teether even contained methyl-, ethyl- and propylparaben, while the second contained six endocrine disrupting chemicals that haven’t even been identified so far. [15]

Another study analyzed 59 teething toys purchased online in the U.S. for potential endocrine disrupting compounds. Although all teethers were labeled BPA-free or non-toxic, all of them contained BPA. [16]

Be careful with painkillers

Make sure you use pain-relief medication only when appropriate and in extreme necessity. Medication should be given in proper doses at the recommended intervals, and under your pediatrician’s supervision. It would be best to avoid medicating only for teething pain, no matter how safe the medication is considered to be, because baby is still a baby, and they are highly sensitive to chemicals. Instead, you can try some natural teething remedies such as breast milk, teething toys made of wood or caoutchouc, or gum massage.

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