Benzocaine Teething Gels

My little boy is having a really hard time with teething pain. Is it safe to use benzocaine gel on my baby’s gums?

Baby crying from teething pain

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

I don’t recommend benzocaine or viscous lidocaine teething gels. They may reduce pain, but they can have serious health risks including death.

The deadly blood disorder called methemoglobinemia may be caused by viscous lidocaine. It is very rare and mostly in the first six months of life. In this condition, oxygen delivery to the body is impaired, causing a child to turn blue. Teething gels have been associated with a few cases.

Both anesthetics can decrease the gag reflux and thereby increase the risk of choking.

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Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

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