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Baby Teething Gel and Methemoglobinemia
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Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to an upset teething baby.  You stick some Orajel in the baby’s mouth and go back to bed for some sleep.  The next morning, you realize that your baby isn’t breathing.  Although rare, this can happen.

Teething BabyLast month, the FDA spoke out about a certain complication known as methemoglobinemia that can occur with Orajel and other popular baby teething gels on the market.

Methemoglobinemia occurs when hemoglobin (the protein in blood that carries oxygen) gets modified so that it can’t carry oxygen to the body as effectively.  Because we all need oxygen to survive, methemoglobinemia is a potentially fatal disease.

Any teething gel that contains benzocaine can cause methemoglobinemia.  This includes such brands as:

The complication that can occur with baby teething gels is due to the local anesthetic, benzocaine, which teething gels use to cause a numbing sensation in your teething baby’s gums.

In their warning, the FDA states: “Methemoglobinemia has been reported with all strengths of benzocaine gels and liquids, including concentrations as low as 7.5%. The cases occurred mainly in children aged two years or younger who were treated with benzocaine gel for teething.”

In case you’re wondering, the strength of benzocaine in Orajel Baby teething gel is 7.5%.  Here’s the Drug Facts label for Baby Orajel if you’d like to take a look.

Symptoms of Methemoglobinemia

If you’ve used a lot of teething gel on your teething baby, it’s important to look for the following symptoms, which can be a sign of methemoglobinemia:

  • Pale, grayish-blue skin, lips, and finger/toe nail beds.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness

If you believe that your baby has methemoglobinemia, it is important to seek medical care immediately.

How to Prevent Your Teething Baby From Getting Methemoglobinemia

The best way to prevent your teething baby from getting methemogloginemia would be to simply not use teething gels.  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says that you can simply massage your baby’s gums or give them a chilled teething ring.

Looking for more ways to calm your teething baby without using Orajel?  Check out the article, Eight Natural Teething Remedies to Help Your Teething Baby.

Conclusion

If you want more information about Methemoglobinemia and teething gels, you can check out this news release from the American Dental Association.

It is important to remember that any drug that you give your child can have serious side effects.  Make sure that you are an informed parent by learning about each drug you give your child – not just teething gels!

Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns about methemoglobinemia and teething gels?  I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

10
Natural Teething Remedies
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Many parents aren’t comfortable giving their little teething babies teething gel, especially when they hear about the rare, but serious side effects that can occur. Back before teething gels were invented, many parents used natural methods to calm their teething babies. Fortunately, for those parents that don’t want to give their teething babies drugs, there are many natural teething remedies to choose from. The teething baby boy pictured to the left would be a great little spokesman for the natural teething baby association as he happily soothes his aching gums with a carrot. While I do list some natural teething remedies below, it’s pretty likely that I passed over some good ones.  If you know of a good, natural teething remedy that I didn’t mention, please write about it in the comments section below.

Eight Natural Teething Remedies to Help Your Teething Baby

1 – Teething Biscuits.  Many parents love using teething biscuits to calm their teething babies.  Be sure to choose a teething biscuit that is healthy for your little one.  When used in moderation, teething biscuits shouldn’t adversely affect your little one’s oral health.

Want to learn more about teething biscuits?  Read Teething Biscuits: A Natural Way to Calm Your Teething Baby.

2 – Frozen Teething Rings. Cold items such as teething rings can alleviate the pain that a teething baby experiences.

Using a Carrot to Calm a Teething Baby3 -Frozen Carrots & Bananas. Frozen bananas are a sweet treat that can ease your baby’s sore gums.  If your baby chews on a frozen carrot, only small bits of carrot come off at a time.  Some parents don’t want to give their children frozen objects because they don’t want to inadvertently freeze their baby’s gums by giving them something so cold.  If you want to play it safe, just go with a cold carrot, as pictured above.

Important – Any time you give your baby something to eat, you must stay with them at all times to help prevent choking.

4 – A small, cold metal spoon. You can either keep some spoons in the refrigerator, or put a small metal spoon in a glass of ice water.  Your teething baby can then hold the spoon and bite down on it to help soothe their irritated gums.

5 – A cold, damp washcloth. Some parents have found that their baby enjoys chewing on a frozen damp washcloth or a cold, wet washcloth.

6 – Dried Fruit. Many parents advocate the use of dried apples to help ease teething troubles.  Any dried fruit that allows the child to chew can help alleviate teething problems.  Keep in mind that you should use dried fruit in moderation, as it can cause tooth decay.

Want to know which of the six kinds of fruit are bad for your child’s teeth?  Read Is Fruit Good or Bad For Your Teeth?  It Depends.

7 – Ice chips in a clean baby sock. Some parents have found that by putting small ice chips in a baby sock, and then tying off the sock, they can give their baby something cold without the risk of their baby’s gums getting too cold.

8 – Gently rub your baby’s gums with your finger.  I’ve tried this with my children and it seemed to help them, although my daughter has bit me before!  It didn’t hurt too much however due to the lack of teeth.  Holding your baby and massaging their gums with your finger can also provide comfort to your teething baby during this hard time.

Beware of Possibly Dangerous Natural Teething Remedies

The internet is an interesting place.  Almost anybody can say anything about any topic under the sun.  It is important to know that although teething does cause some irritation in your child, it’s probably a good idea to not use any unproven homeopathic remedies. Dr. Steven Pray, a professor at the College of Pharmacy at Southwestern Oklahoma State University has said, “Parents or caregivers should be cautioned against use of unproven and potentially dangerous teething remedies such as homeopathic teething tablets containing belladonna, coffee, magnets, tea tree oil, anise seed, clove oil, and cantharides.” Use your common sense when dealing with your teething baby.  Many parents simply look for a quick fix to their baby’s teething troubles, possibly putting their precious baby at risk.

What Do You Do to Help Your Teething Baby?

Do you have any other suggestions to help the parents that are reading this post be able to more effectively calm their teething baby?  Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments section below – Thanks for reading!

Does Teething Cause a Fever in Teething Babies?
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There are so many symptoms that are attributed to teething that many parents think that they’re child is almost always teething!  Traditionally, “academic research” has found that teething doesn’t really cause a fever, while many parents and caregivers that are actually taking care of teething babies report that they definitely do get fevers during teething.

Where does the truth lie?  Do teething babies really get fevers?  I decided to find out.

Does Teething Cause a Fever?

Does Teething Cause a Fever?This is a tricky question and in order to answer it, we need to define exactly what a fever is.  If we define a fever as a temperature above 102º, then the answer is usually pretty clear that teething does not cause a major fever over 102 degrees.

But, when we define a fever as a smaller temperature rise, say a temperature of 100º for example, the answer is not so clear-cut.

A study that appeared in the journal Pediatrics followed 494 different tooth eruptions.  They found that “mild temperature elevation” was associated with teething, but a high fever of 102º degrees and above was not associated with teething.

Another study followed 46 healthy infants while they were teething.  20 of them had a fever within a few days of cutting their first tooth while only 7 of them had a fever a couple of weeks before their first tooth poked through their gums.  Although it would appear from these results that teething is associated with a fever, they had some cautionary advice:

From the data presented here it would seem that the ‘granny’s tale’ that infants cut their teeth with fever is supported. We would like to stress the danger in attributing fever to teething without ruling out other pathology. Children are teething from about 6 months to 6 years and therefore can easily be found to be teething when ill from other causes. Only the eruption of the first tooth is a clear landmark and so this study limited itself to the period before its emergence. We are intrigued by our finding and have no explanation to offer at this stage for the observation.

We were taught as students to listen to parents; grandma seems also to have had something to tell us.

From the two studies above, it may appear that teething does cause a mild fever in some children.

The last study I would like to share followed 90 different tooth eruptions. They analyzed the data in many different ways, but in the end they couldn’t find an association between fevers and teething:

A possible association between teething and fever was investigated in several ways…A graph of mean z score temperatures for the 28 days either side of an eruption day showed no trends toward raised or rising temperature near eruption days. Two separate logistic regression analyses adjusting for age were performed to examine possible associations between toothday status and fever. In the first, high fever was compared with no fever, whereas in the second low fever score was compared with no fever.  Neither analysis indicated a relationship between tooth eruption and fever.

The last study failed to find any association between fevers and teething.

Conclusion – Does Teething Cause Fevers?

The few studies that we do have on this subject give us mixed answers.  There are a few things that we can say for sure:

1 – Children get lots of fevers.  It could be that the fevers that they get around the time that they are teething are simply by coincidence.

2 – If your child is sick while teething, don’t just assume that it is due to the teething.  It’s always best to get a definitive answer from a doctor.

3 – Teething doesn’t cause fevers, but some teething babies may experience a slight rise in temperature around the time when they are teething.

I hope that answers some of your questions about teething and fevers.  If you have any questions, comments, or teething stories to share, feel free to leave them below in the comments section.  Thanks for reading!