FDA Warns Against Orajel Ingredient: What You Need to Know


fda orajel warningAre you holding a teething baby right now ... or one that may be teething soon? We've got another warning about something we all thought was safe. The FDA issued a warning about benzocaine, which is found in Orajel, Anbesol, and other over-the-counter meds used to help soothe those gums and mouths of babies cutting their first teeth.

The FDA says benzocaine may cause a rare, serious, and possibly fatal condition called methemoglobinemia, which reduces the amount of oxygen carried the bloodstream.

We have the signs of methemoglobinemia and what you should do if you have a teething baby at home.

Here is what we know:

1. The FDA is telling parents and caregivers not to use products with benzocaine on children under 2, except when under the care of a doctor.

2. If you do have to use something with the ingredient on your child, use as little as possible and no more than four times a day.

3. There have been 21 cases of methemoglobinemia in adults and children after using a product with benzocaine.

4. Don't know what to look for? Here are the signs of methemoglobinemia: pale, gray, or blue colored skin, lips, and nail beds; shortness of breath; fatigue; confusion; headache; lightheadedness; and rapid heart rate. The symptoms usually occur within minutes of applying a product with benzocaine to 1 to 2 hours after use.

5. It doesn't matter if you have used Orajel or another product with benzocaine without side effects. Methemoglobinemia can occur after using a product with benzocaine for the first time OR if you have already used it before, so this is cause for concern at any time.

6. If you think your child may have the signs of methemoglobinemia, call 911 and get medical attention immediately.

Yeah, this is scary stuff. There are ways to help your teething baby without using over-the-counter products. Gently rub his gums, massaging the tender spots often helps. What helped my kiddo the most? A plastic teething ring stashed in the fridge; the cold helped numb her sensitive mouth.

Do you have a a good, natural teething remedy?


Image via Wallula Junction/Flickr

baby first year, baby health, teething, safety


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nonmember avatar TwinDaddy

Ok, so as I'm dealing with 7.5 mth old twins who are cutting their first teeth, I would love to get some tips on what we can do for them that will actually help them, cuz the teething rings aren't cutting it (forgive the pun), and good luck trying to get your hands anywhere near their faces...

There's got to be something out there that can help...it just sucks because now we can't use Orajel, and the homeopathic teething tablets we were using were discontinued/recalled...

Kaela Wheeler

Just checked my Hyland's teething gel, no benzocaine. Score one for homeopathics.

Lynette Lynette

amber teething necklace or anklet.  My youngest had an amber anklet and not once did I need to give her infant tylenol for teething.  Works really well.  Baby isn't suppose to chew on it.  What it does is w/ baby heat it releases some natural thing in amber that decreases inflammation.  google it.  2 different sources to buy them are http://hyenacart.com/inspiredbyfinn/ and http://www.hazelaid.com/C_Home.html  Both Inspired by Finn & Hazelaid run sales, fan them on facebook, they post them there.

momli... momlisa23

I used a miniscule amount of clove oil for both my boys! Made our own and both kids and adults can use it safely (unless you are allergic to either cloves or mineral oil) and it works great! 

Mom2j... Mom2jngnc

Sorry, I am a "small amount of oragel with a dose of tylenol" Mom..... although with all the new freaking warnings coming out, I am glad I am done with this stage!

Angela Sewell

I love that the author of this article is freaking out about orajel, but recommends a technique that can cause chillblains. Rich.

Antoinette McCrea

The have teething tablets that dissolve quickly and taste like cherry.  It helps them with pain and sleeplessness

Brittany Pagels

Baltic Amber works wonders for teething. www.facebook.com/moultriehcg i sell inspired by finn baltic amber (yes shameless plug)

sweet... sweetashyb

Amber teething bracelets or necklaces plus Hyland's teething tablets always worked for us. My kiddos also liked to chew on frozen peaches in one of those mesh feeder things.

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