Is your child teething? If so, think twice about offering them a teething necklace, bracelet, or other teething jewelry.
The FDA recently issued a warning against using these products, saying they could lead to strangulation, choking, serious injuries or death.
When babies are born, all 20 of their teeth reside below their gumline. As these teeth start to come up, teething begins, usually between the ages of 6 and 12 months. As these teeth “erupt”, babies may experience sore or sensitive gums. Symptoms of teething may normally include drooling more than usual, irritability, trouble sleeping or loss of appetite.
While teething jewelry is often marketed as a way to relieve teething pain, the FDA now says this can lead to choking if the jewelry breaks and small beads, or the entire piece of jewelry, end up in the child’s throat or airway. The FDA noted that their warning is for jewelry, not teething rings or teethers, which are made of a hard plastic or rubber and are not worn by the child.
If your child is currently experiencing teething pain, the FDA recommends staying away from teething jewelry. Instead, either gently rub or massage your child’s gums with a clean finger or give them a teething ring made of firm rubber. Just be sure the teething ring is not frozen, as it can hurt your child’s gums if it is too hard. Look for teethers that are made of solid rubber, and avoid liquid-filled teething rings or plastic objects that could break. Just because something is marketed as a teether doesn’t always mean it’s safe.
FDA also recommends avoiding over-the-counter teething creams that contain benzocaine for children younger than 2 years. Used to treat gum and mouth pain, these gels, sprays, ointments, solutions and lozenges can cause methemoglobinemia, a condition in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood is reduced.
If your baby is experiencing discomfort from teething, please let us know, as our dentists can help offer ways to reduce teething pain, including the benefits and risks of available treatment options.
Looking for more dental care tips and information for kids? Visit the Kids Dental Zone!