Cutting new teeth is one of the most painful rites of passage for babies. Several medications on the market may help your child find relief, but unwanted side effects raise the question of whether your baby would be better off simply enduring the discomfort.
The Impact of Pain-Relieving Medications
According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, both over-the-counter and prescription medications can cause reactions that compromise the wellness of your baby.
Specifically, a local anesthetic known as benzocaine may increase the likelihood of a rare but potentially harmful condition known as methemoglobinemia. This condition might reduce the amount of oxygen that is delivered through the bloodstream. Warning signs that your baby has acquired the condition include:
- shortness of breath
- skin discoloration that is bluish
Another potentially dangerous teething medication is viscous lidocaine, which may be present in gel-like syrups to soothe sores in the mouth. Also a local anesthetic, this medication should not be given to children younger than 3 unless prescribed by a doctor, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Side effects of viscous lidocaine can include:
If your baby or toddler is teething and fussy, talk to your healthcare provider about safe solutions to help ease the pain.