BDA warns of teething products that could put infants’ health at risk

BDA warns of teething products that could put infants’ health at risk

The British Dental Association (BDA) has urged parents to be on alert, as new research has revealed that 9 of the 14 teething products licensed for use in the UK contain sucrose, alcohol and/or lidocaine, all of which have potential harmful side effects. There is little evidence that the products are actually effective in reducing teething pain.

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% solution. Although none of the UK products contain more than 1% lidocaine, there could potentially be a risk of overdose from incorrect use.

The BDA has backed calls for no nonsense guidance to help parents navigate the risks, and guide them away from potentially harmful products, and for changes to licensing arrangements so harmful ingredients cannot make it into licensed products without clear evidence on their effectiveness.

BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said: “Parents buying teething powders to save infants from distress won’t always realise they’re offering their kids sugars, alcohol or lidocaine. Buying a licensed product should offer confidence you’re making a safe choice. The reality is consumers are navigating a minefield of potentially harmful ingredients. We need to see real change in the way these products are licensed and marketed, and clear guidance so parents understand the risks. If your little one is suffering then a teething ring kept cool in the fridge is all you need.” 

Data from Teething products may be harmful to health, Nigel Monaghan, British Dental Journal, Vol 227, No 6, 27 September 2019

Teething product licensed in the UK

 

Format

 

License

 

Contains

sucrose

Contains

alcohol

Contains

lidocaine

Ashton and Parsons’ Infant Powders

Powder

Herbal

No

No

No

Boots Teething Pain Relief*

Granules

Homeopathic

No

No

No

Nelson’s Teetha Teething Granules*

Granules

Homeopathic

No

No

No

Weleda Chamomilla 3X

Granules

Homeopathic

Yes

Yes

No

Camilia Oral Solution

Solution

Homeopathic

No

No

No

Helios ABC 30C Pillules

Pill

Homeopathic

Yes

No

No

Nelson’s Teetha Teething Gel

Gel

Homeopathic

No

Yes

No

Fennings Children’s Cooling Oral Powders

Powder

Full

No

No

No

Boots Teething Gel 3 Months Plus

Gel

Full

No

No

0.6%

Bonjela Teething Gel

Gel

Full

No

Yes

0.33%

Bonjela Junior Gel

Gel

Full

No

Yes

0.5%

Dentinox Teething Gel

Gel

Full

No

Yes

0.33%

Calgel Teething Gel

Gel

Full

No

Yes

0.33%

Anbesol Teething Gel

Gel

Full

No

Yes

1%

 *Single licence for the two products

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0
0
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