Teething gel is a hot topic right now! Even if you don’t have a kid teething you have likely heard that the FDA has released a full warning against the use of products that contain benzocaine (which previously was thought to be the only effective way to help teething pain). But there are still tons of teething gels on the market, what gives? Are any safe? Do any actually work? Let’s discuss!
The Benzocaine Gels
These gels really should be avoided. Benzocaine isn’t really that effective to begin with because teething babies have a lot of drool that pretty much washes it away before it could be effective. Plus these gels just aren’t safe. There are two main reasons why the FDA has warned against these products (read full warning here).
- Benzocaine can cause a life threatening disease called methemoglobinemia. This is especially dangerous in children under the age of 2.
- Benzocaine can be swallowed and numb the throat which is a choking hazard (for obvious reasons).
Final Verdict: While Benzocaine gels do still remain on the market they have been relabeled to list these warnings and recommend use ONLY for those older than 2 years.
Try it out: Let’s just steer clear of these bad boys. Ok, moving on!
The “Cooling” Gels
There are a couple of gels on the market that promise a “cooling” effect. This is completely different from numbing. They are essentially utilizing natural ingredients to replicate the effect that a water-filled silicone teether straight out of the fridge would have on baby’s gums. In theory this is great! We know that cold is AWESOME for teething, sore gums and that you or baby may not always be in a position to hold a teether in their mouth (say like bedtime). However, I have a hard time believing that they would work any better than a benzocaine gel since again it would be washed away by drool. I have not tried many of these options, but I have tried one and it seemed to help a little. Admittedly, the one we used (find it here) also contained chamomile so one could make an argument that was really what helped.
Final Verdict: They are definitely safe. All the brands I have seen are all natural and utilize menthol or similar as the cooling agent. Personally, I am not sold that these are really making a huge difference because they wash away and have no lasting benefit once swallowed.
Try it out: If you do want to give it a try, I would recommend Wink Naturals. I have not tried it personally, but I have only heard great things from many people, plus Wink is an amazing brand and I love many of their other products!
The Oil Based Gels
There are many MANY benefits to essential oils and one of them is easing teething pain. You can read about all the different uses of essential oils regarding teething here. There are also a lot of companies that offer teething products that are meant to be used kind of like a massage oil on the gums and are made of a combo of essential oils to help teething pain. The most commonly used oils are clove (for pain and swelling) and chamomile (for calming effects).
Final Verdict: These products are diluted essential oil blends so they are made in concentrations that are safe for baby, error proof and safe! Essential oils have also been used and tested for many years so they DO help. The best part about essential oils is that most of them (including clove and chamomile) help relieve symptoms topically AS WELL AS when ingested, so even if your baby is super drooly they will still be receiving benefits once swallowed!
Try it out: I would recommend either the Babyganics Gel Teething Pods (which is an interesting name choice since they are pretty much made entirely of oil), the Nuby All Natural Teething Gel, or Alternakids Natural Teething Relief. All of these contain clove oil along with other oils to help soothe. The Nuby and Alternakids products also include a teething toy/aid to help “deliver” the gel onto baby’s gums. All three are very trusted brands for baby goods!
Other Teething Remedies
There are two other types of teething remedies on the market: 1) Teething Tablets and 2) Teething Liquid. These vary quite considerably from brand to brand on what the major ingredient is, so do your research before buying. I have tried and reviewed both the Borion Camilia Teething Relief and the Hyland’s Teething Tablets and you can read all about them here and here. Long story short they are both safe and work!
Final Verdict: Be cautious and do your research before buying as they vary substantially brand to brand.
Try it out: I cannot rave enough about the Camilia stuff. I tell everyone about it and probably have mentioned it in about every other article I’ve written, so if you are up for trying new things grab this guy here!
So there you have it! Some gels work, some are safe and some aren’t gels at all. Do you have a favorite teething gel? Or one that did NOTHING? Drop a comment below and remember: sharing is caring 😉