Is it safe to use baby teething gels?

There are some scary headlines out there suggesting teething gels might not be entirely safe for your baby - but what's the real story?

teething

In a nutshell

Yes, baby teething gels are broadly safe to use but, according to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), there is ‘a very small risk of harm’ in using teething gels that contain anaesthetic ingredients, such as lidocaine.

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Teething gels that contain lidocaine include brands such as Calgel, Dentinox and Bonjela.

It’s also worth knowing that, according to the MHRA, there is little evidence of the benefits of using gels containing anaesthetic ingredients to relieve teething pain.

What’s the story about baby teething gels?

The BBC has reported that the MHRA has said there is no evidence gels that contain anaesthetic ingredients do anything to help teething.

These gels are currently widely available in supermarket and chemist-shop aisles but, from 2019, you’ll only be able to buy them in pharmacies – after speaking to a pharmacist.

So what can I use if my baby has teething pain?

The MHRA advises that parents should try other non-medicinal treatments for teething pain first – like massaging their baby’s gums or using chilled teething rings or toys.

Take a look at our pick of the best teething rings

Only if these options don’t work, says the MHRA, should parents then talk to their health visitor or pharmacist about other options, which might include using anaesthetic gels.

“Our review,” says the MHRA’s Dr Sarah Branch, “showed there is a lack of evidence of benefit to using teething gels.

“To help babies and children with teething, parents and caregivers should try non-medicine options such as rubbing or massaging the gums or a teething ring.

“We want to make sure you get the right information about teething. If your child continues to have problems with teething, talk to your pharmacist or healthcare professional about the best options.”

Image: Getty Images

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