Teething tablets are the first thought in a parents mind when it comes to teething pain and discomfort. Most of the kids start teething between the age of 4-6 months. But some get their first tooth as late as 18 months of age.
Teething is a normal natural phenomenon but it is associated with pain in most of the kids. Yes, it is painful for most of the kids but not all the kids. No parent in the world wants to see their child in pain so when they see their kid in teething pain, the parents try to do everything in their hand to make their baby more comfortable.
Parents tends to avoid the allopathic medicines like Paracetamol or Ibuprofen as there is common notion that they are having adverse effects on the body. So, parents try Homeopathic medicines which are known to have less adverse effects or Teething Jewellery (Tlismi Moti) or tend to do some home remedies to relieve their kid’s pain.
What are teething tablets?
Teething tablets are the tiny pills which are designed to dissolve in the child’s mouth with their saliva or little amount of water. Usually these are homeopathic medicines which can contain a single or a mixture of various ingredients like Calcarea Phosphorica 6X, Arnica Montana, Calcarea Carbonica, Chamomilla 12X, Coffea Cruda 6X, Ferrum Phosphoricum 12X and Belladonna etc.
Composition of teething tablets
Teething tablets composition varies from brand to brand. There are different brands of teething tablets available in the market. The most common available teething tablets are:
- 1. Hyland’s Naturals Baby Oral Pain Relief Tablets
- 2. Dr. Reckeweg Calcarea Phos Tablet
- 3. SBL Calcarea Phosphorica Biochemic Tablet 6X
- 4. Calcarea phosphorica by Dr. Willmar Schwabe India Ltd.
- 5. Biocombination No. 21 by Dr. Willmar Schwabe India Ltd.
The main component of all these tablets is Calcarea Phosphorica along with other ingredients. According to Homeopathic doctors, Calcarea Phosphorica may be helpful for a child whose teeth are erupting late, the child has aching gums or trouble sleeping. Few formulations also contain Chamomilla which is useful for Greenish diarrhoea that occurs because of teething stress.
Out of all of these teething tablets the FDA has recalled and banned the use of Hyland’s Natural Baby Oral Pain Relief Tablets as these contains varying amounts of belladonna, a potentially toxic ingredient. The FDA has received reports of serious adverse events in children taking this product that are consistent with belladonna toxicity. An FDA inspection at the manufacturer’s facility indicated substandard control of the manufacturing operation.
Do the teething tablets work?
Mostly teething tablets are homeopathic medicines which takes time to act so there is no conclusive study to prove their benefits. There is literature showing the benefits of different compounds used in the teething tablets for their benefits but not much has been documented about their effect on pain due to teething or during the teething process.
Most of the Pediatricians do not recommend using the teething tablets for the babies as their formulations are not regulated and not much literature is there to support their benefits.
Should babies use teething tablets?
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warns against the use of homeopathic teething products, such as teething tablets, since they could contain plants or plant compounds that are toxic. Although it’s sometimes sold as a supplement, the National Library of Medicine lists belladonna as “likely unsafe” when taken by mouth. Due to the above reason only the FDA warned consumers to stop using and discard Hyland’s Teething Tablets; and the manufacturer recalled the product.
Acc. to FDA, “They offer little to no benefit and are associated with serious risk.”
Side effects of teething tablets on babies
According to the Homeopathic doctors the homeopathic medicines are severely diluted. So, there should not be any adverse effects. But still as the production of homeopathic medicines including teething tablets in not regulated it is not advisable. The second concern is if kid ingests more than recommended dose by mistake, it can be harmful.
The toxicity or adverse reactions to teething tablets can be classic signs of anticholinergic toxicity which includes:
- 1. Fast heart rate
- 2. Increased body temperature
- 3. Dry skin and dry mouth
- 4. Skin flushing
- 5. Constipation
- 6. Decreased urination
- 7. Agitation
- 8. Disorientation,
- 9. Hallucinations
- 10. Dilated pupils.
Drowsiness may also be seen in infants. If you are already using the teething tablets for your baby please look out for above signs and symptoms, and get immediate medical help to prevent any lasting effects of the toxins.
Alternative of teething tablets
So you all must be thinking if no teething tablets then what should we do to protect our kids from the teething pain he or she is suffering from. The FDA also recommends parents to treat teething pain without the use of any prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, homeopathic drugs, or teething jewelry marketed for relieving teething pain as those products can be dangerous and can lead to serious injury or even death.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends alternative ways for treating teething pain:
Teethers are the best friend for your baby to get relief from teething pain. There are various type of teethers available in the market, and you will have to choose the best for your child. You can check our articles for the 10 best teethers available in India.
It is better to avoid the gel filled or water filled teethers. If the erupting tooth is sharp it can puncture the teether and there might be a chance that your child will swallow the liquid or the gel.
A Wash cloth
A clean and cold washcloth is all that is required sometimes to do the trick. You can keep it in the fridge for around 30-60 minutes after dipping it in clean water and just give your child to nibble on it whenever required.
Massage your baby’s gums 4-5 times a day using a clean cold cloth or a moist gauze piece wrapped around your finger. This will surely help in relieving some teething pain and discomfort.
Further Reading: 9 Home remedies to soothe teething pain