Dentists warn of teething products that could put infants’ health at risk

27 September 2019
2 min read

The paper, published in the British Dental Journal, examined all products currently licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The MHRA categorises teething powders as homeopathic or herbal products, whereas most teething gels, with the sole exception of Nelson’s Teetha Teething Gel, hold full product licences.

Two products containing sucrose (table sugar) leave newly erupted baby teeth susceptible to decay, ​particularly as they are applied directly and repeatedly to the teeth. Six contain alcohol. Consumption of relatively low levels through breast milk can be counterproductive, arousing rather than sedating infants, meaning an increased propensity for crying and poor sleeping. Moderate exposure has been related to impaired motor development.  

All six teething gels licenced in the UK contained lidocaine, which also poses a risk of overdose at higher concentrations. In the United States, 22 serious adverse reactions, including deaths, have been associated with lidocaine 2 per cent solution. Although none of the UK products contain more than 1 per cent lidocaine, there could potentially be a risk of overdose from incorrect use.

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