Parents warned about 'potentially harmful' teething products


British parents are being warned about the ‘potential dangers’ of popular teething products, which dentists say could put infants’ health at risk.

Anyone who has ever stayed up all night with a teething baby will testify they’ll do almost anything to help soothe the pain, with many turning to teething gels and powders.

But the British Dental Association (BDA) is urging parents to ‘be on alert’, following new research revealing 9 of the 14 teething products contain ingredients with potentially harmful side effects.

The research, published in the British Dental Journal, examined all products currently licensed in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The results revealed that of 14 teething products, two contained sucrose, that's table sugar, six contained alcohol and six contained an anaesthetic used to numb tissue called lidocaine.

And those nine products all present risks to little ones. The two products containing sucrose, can pose a risk of decay to emerging teeth when applied repeatedly.

With regards to alcohol, low levels in breast milk have been associated with poor sleep and crying, and moderate levels of which have been linked to impaired motor development.

All six teething gels licensed 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.

Additionally, study authors said there is little evidence that the products are actually effective in reducing teething pain.

Following the research the BDA is calling for no nonsense guidance to help parents navigate the risks, and guide them away from potentially harmful products.

They are also seeking changes to licensing arrangements so harmful ingredients cannot make it into licensed products, without clear evidence on their effectiveness.

Commenting on the findings 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.