FDA teething warning

Have a teething baby? As you may have heard, the FDA recently warned against using over-the-counter teething products, citing  that many of them, including popular Baby Orajel and Orajel Medicated Teething Swabs, contain an ingredient–benzocaine–that “can cause rare but deadly side effects in children, especially those 2 years and younger.” 

We know these kinds of announcements can feel scary, frustrating and make you wonder what is safe to give to your baby. The best thing you can do at this point though is not to worry, consult your baby’s pediatrician if you have concerns, and most importantly, stop using teething pain products. “We urge parents, caregivers and retailers who sell them to heed our warnings and not use over-the-counter products containing benzocaine for teething pain,” FDA Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb advises.

Remedies for Pain Teething Relief

If you have a baby in the midst of teething, hang in there. Seeing your baby in pain is always difficult, and the interruption of sleep for parents and little ones alike is no picnic either. But it will pass. In the meantime, here are some non medical/homeopathic remedies you can try for teething pain relief.

Ginger Root

Since ginger is an anti-inflammatory, slicing a thin, peeled piece of the root and rubbing on baby’s gums for a minute or two can soothe irritated gums.

Frozen Washcloth

To nurse baby’s swollen gums, try drenching a clean cotton washcloth with water, tying in a knot and freezing. Once frozen, let baby gnaw on it for teething relief.

Frozen Bottle Nipple

Again, cold pressure can do a world of good for a teething baby. Fill a BPA-free bottle with a little breast milk or water, and tip upside down so it freezes within the nipple. Baby will know what to do next!

Amber Necklaces

Many parents swear by the natural teething relief provided by Amber teething necklaces. These beads are not meant to be put into baby’s mouth though–they work by resting against baby’s warm skin and releasing tiny amounts of anti-inflammatory succinic acid that gets absorbed into the bloodstream.

Teething Toys

Teething babies put everything into their mouths, so having some non-toxic teething toys on hand is super helpful. Just be sure to keep washing them thoroughly, as they’ll regularly be drenched in drool. :)

Gentle Gum Massage

In baby’s point of view, the more teething remedies that involve you, the better. With clean hands, just gently rub your baby’s gums back and forth. If you can tell they’re starting to calm down after a few slow passes, you’ll know it’s working. If not, you’ll know too!

Mesh Teethers

Add frozen organic fruits and veggies such as banana or avocado to a mesh teether and let baby chew. The tiny holes in the mesh ensure big pieces that break off aren’t accessible, but provide baby with the cold relief and nutritional benefits.


It may seem far-fetched but sometimes changing the subject, so to speak, can go a long way to sooth a teething baby. Try breastfeeding for comfort, giving a warm bath or swaying while baby-wearing.
For more baby care tips from Carole, check out Newborn 101.