When you’re nursing a canker sore, or any other irritation to gum tissue, a quick dab or two of an over-the-counter numbing agent might be just what you need to get through the day. But, when your kids are teething, the application of these medications comes with some very serious risks.
Around month six, your child’s teeth will start coming in. And, generally speaking, they’re not going to be too happy about it until the age of three, when the last of their deciduous teeth arrive. Yet despite their ongoing whining, the Food and Drug Administration recommends you let them deal with it as nature intended – without medicine.
"Teething is a normal phenomenon; all babies teethe," says Ethan Hausman, M.D., a pediatrician and pathologist at FDA. "FDA does not recommend any sort of drug, herbal or homeopathic medication or therapy for teething in children."
The reason for this is because these numbing agents can cause complications in children (and adults) that include jitteriness, confusion, vision problems, vomiting, falling asleep too easily, shaking and seizures – even death.
Because safer alternatives exist, the FDA recommends you avoid medications and stick to tried-and-true options such as gentle finger massage, or perhaps a cold towel compress, or teething ring, the child can suck on while agitated.