Teething products may be harmful to health

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Abstract

Introduction An internet search identified teething powders licensed in the UK containing sucrose and alcohol.

Aims To identify current UK guidance on teething and potentially harmful ingredients in teething products.

Methods Internet searches identified UK national guidance on teething and evidence on teething interventions. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency was asked to provide information on the sugar and alcohol content of UK-licensed teething products. The internet search also highlighted concerns about 2% lidocaine teething product use in the USA. Information on lidocaine content was extracted from product information leaflets.

Results A clinical knowledge summary notes the lack of evidence of effectiveness of teething powders, granules, pills or gels. Of 14 licensed teething products, two contain sucrose, six contain alcohol and six contain lidocaine, all potentially harmful ingredients. There is an opportunity to develop some new UK guidance drawing on extant teething guidance and the clinical knowledge summary.

Conclusions Despite a lack of evidence of effectiveness for teething products, of the 14 licensed products in the UK, nine contain one or more of sucrose, alcohol or lidocaine. There is an opportunity to develop new guidance to steer health professionals and the public away from these potentially harmful products.

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Correspondence to Nigel Monaghan.

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Monaghan, N. Teething products may be harmful to health. Br Dent J 227, 485–487 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41415-019-0715-7

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