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A recent release from the FDA has warned parents to avoid using topical pain relievers on infants when teething. Some of these products can be harmful, and others simply are not effective because they are washed off by saliva almost instantly. The most recent warning is a reminder that lidocaine 2 percent should not be used to treat infants and children with oral pain, such as pain from teething. Lidocaine is used to treat pain in the mouth during certain oral procedures, but it is only approved for adult use under doctor’s supervision. It can cause serious side effects, and even death, in young children, and should not be used for teething pain.

As a parent, you know that those 20 baby teeth can cause some serious problems–not to mention loss of sleep–for everyone in your household. So what can you do to ease the pain caused from teething?

  • Keep it cool– Rub gums with a cool washcloth, offer a chilled teething ring, or if your child is eating solids, allow them to gnaw on a cool cucumber or carrot (well supervised, of course).
  • Dry the drool– Some discomfort can be caused from the drool that can lead to rashes and discomfort around the mouth. Keep the area dry by patting down with a soft cloth or bib.
  • Rub the gums–Use your fingers, a gum massager (found near baby toothbrushes), or a washcloth to apply light pressure to the gums.
  • Use over the counter remedies when necessary–Talk with your child’s pediatrician about correct dosage for over the counter pain relievers when all else fails.

When should you begin to brush? 

As soon as the first tiny tooth pokes through, start brushing! It doesn’t hurt to begin the habit even earlier to get your child accustomed to the routine. Tooth paste is not necessary at first–just wet a soft bristled brush and brush both the teeth and gums.

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