Safe Teething for Your Infant

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There are a few medications to watch out for when trying to ease your baby’s discomfort during teething.

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:

  • fatigue
  • 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:

  • confusion
  • jitters
  • vomiting

If your baby or toddler is teething and fussy, talk to your healthcare provider about safe solutions to help ease the pain.

Natural Solutions for Teething Pain

Is your baby chewing on toys, crying more than usual or drooling? He or she is probably teething. The natural remedies listed below may help make your baby’s gums more comfortable and your life more peaceful:

  • Cool compress—Use a chilled, damp cloth to gently apply soothing pressure to your baby’s gums. But make sure that the cloth is not too cold to the touch.
  • Something to chew on—A teething ring or toy may help your baby find relief.

Did You Know?

> According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years old get, on average, one new tooth a month.

> The Nova Scotia Dental Association notes that tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body.

> According to the Colorado Springs Dental Society, kissing a donkey was one of the recommended ways to relieve tooth pain in Germany during the Middle Ages.

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