The pain of teething. It can be excruciating to the baby and to the parents and grandparents that have to listen to a fussy youngster wail for hours on end. For many parents, myself included, the solution has been an over the counter teething gel. Now the Federal Food and Drug Administration is warning parents about a health condition associated with some of those gels.

The ingredient in question is called benzocaine. It's a common ingredient in oral pain relief medications. If you've ever used Orajel for a toothache or Chloraseptic to ease the pain of a sore throat you've experienced what this chemical can do.

In their warning to consumers, the FDA is suggesting a connection between benzocaine and a condition known as methemoglobinemia. It causes a major drop in oxygen in the blood. This condition is most likely to develop in children under the age of two.

The announcement suggests there are great risks and very little relief associated with the use of products that contain benzocaine.  The FDA has asked companies to stop the selling and marketing of these products. Should the agency not see compliance they might be forced to pull the products from store shelves.


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