Sunday, April 3, 2016

Homeopathic Teething Products; Safe or Dangerous? Plus Natural Teething Options

There seems to be a new wave of homeopathic products on the market for teething babies that claim to be 'safe' and 'natural.' Products like Camilia teething drops and Hyland's baby teething tablets.
But do you really know what are in these products and that they are actually safe for your baby?

Hylands Teething Tablets are intended to Temporarily relieve the symptoms of simple restlessness and wakeful irritability due to cutting teeth and help reduce redness and inflammation of gums.
 The directions for use are as follows: "Dissolve 2 to 3 tablets under the tongue 4 times per day. If you prefer, tablets may be dissolved in a teaspoon of water and then given to the child. If the child is restless or wakeful, 2 tablets every hour for 6 doses or as recommended by a doctor. Teething Tablets are very soft and dissolve almost instantly under the tongue. Please note: if your baby has been crying or upset, your baby may fall asleep after using this product because the pain has been relieved and your child can rest."

But here are the LISTED ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: ' Calcarea Phosphorica 6X HPUS, Chamomilla 6X HPUS, Coffea Cruda 6X HPUS, Belladonna 12X HPUS (0.0000000000003% Alkaloids, Calculated). HPUS Indicates the Active Ingredients are in the Official Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States.
 Inactive Ingredients: Lactose N.F.' 

Is that safe? 

Here is the listed warning: Do not use: more than directed; for more than 7 days in a row unless directed by a doctor or dentist; if your child has a known allergy to any ingredient in this product. Stop use and ask a doctor if: symptoms do not improve in 7 days; swelling, rash or fever develops; irritation, pain or redness persists or worsens. If pregnant or nursing, ask a doctor before use. Keep out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, contact a medical professional or a poison control center immediately. Do not use if imprinted tamper band is broken or missing. In case of emergency, contact a medical professional or poison control center immediately

Source: Hylands Product Info

Doesn't seem to note any alarms. This product is on market today and can be found at most major department stores and at drug stores and baby shops. You can even order it online.

But again I ask, is it safe?

In October of 2010, the FDA issued the following press release: "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today is warning consumers that Hyland’s Teething Tablets may pose a risk to children. The FDA recommends that consumers not use this product and dispose of any in their possession. The manufacturer is issuing a recall of this product. 
Hyland's Teething Tablets are manufactured to contain a small amount of belladonna, a substance that can cause serious harm at larger doses. For such a product, it is important that the amount of belladonna be carefully controlled. FDA laboratory analysis, however, has found that Hyland’s Teething Tablets contain inconsistent amounts of belladonna. In addition, the FDA has received reports of serious adverse events in children taking this product that are consistent with belladonna toxicity. The FDA has also received reports of children who consumed more tablets than recommended, because the containers do not have child resistant caps.
The FDA advises consumers to consult their health care professional if their child experiences symptoms such as seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation after using Hyland’s Teething Tablets.
Hyland’s Teething Tablets is a homeopathic product intended to provide temporary relief of teething symptoms in children that is sold over-the-counter (OTC) in retail outlets. The FDA has not evaluated Hyland’s Teething Tablets for safety or efficacy, and is not aware of any proven clinical benefit offered by the product.  
An ongoing inspection at the manufacturer also indicates substandard control of the manufacturing operation. After consultation with the FDA today, the manufacturer of the product, Standard Homeopathic Company agreed to voluntarily recall Hyland’s Teething Tablets from the market.   
FDA urges both health care professionals and consumers to report side effects from use of Hyland’s Teething Tablets to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program."

The recall stems from concerns for increased and varying amounts of belladonna, a toxic substance that could cause serious systemic effects to babies. It’s unclear how much belladonna is found in these tablets normally although it is well known it’s in them. Recently, infants have developed symptoms consistent with belladonna toxicity after using the tablets (change in consciousness, constipation, skin flushing, dry mouth). Homeopathic supplements and medications are unregulated and therefore it’s hard to know what is in them, how consistent one bottle is from the next, and how different brands of the same products compare. The most active ingredients in these tablets are chamomile, coffee seeds, belladonna and calcium phosphate. Local and national poison control previously deemed teething tablets safe even though it is known that they have trace amounts of belladonna (and possible caffeine). The FDA states it is “unaware of any proven clinical benefit from the product.” Because of safety concerns and no known benefit, I would not recommend, nor have used teething tablets. 

There are more natural and safe options for treating your teething baby.  
  • You may try frozen items: freeze celery, carrots or even frozen mini waffles can be a fun, messy, but effective method of offering cooling relief.
  • Use a mesh baby food/teething feeder: add frozen breast milk cubes. Store the feeder itself in the freezer also. Be sure and get one that easily opens and closes, and is made of non-plastic material. You can add other frozen foods, but due to them being so hard to clean, frozen breast milk probably would be best. 
example of mesh food feeder for babies

  • Chewing: promotes a gumming action providing enough counter pressure which is a huge help in relieving the aching pressure that usually comes along with erupting teeth. rattles, rubber teething rings, and teething toys work, but actually chewing on something works more effectively, especially if the item is cold because it creates that numbing effect. Keeping these items in cold in the fridge is a great idea. 
  • Rubbing: use a soft and wet toothbrush without toothpaste or your clean finger to firmly rub the gums. Continuously rubbing the area will soon offer a soothing pain relief.
  • Cold Drinks: Perfect if the child is more than six months old, give your baby a bottle containing ice cold water (in small increments) can offer a soothing and chilly relief to a baby's painful gum.
  • Icy/chilled foods: like yogurt, applesauce and blended peaches are also among the most soothing foods your child can suck on. These foods are more appetizing than room temperature and warm foods and are capable of easing aching gums. You can also start feeding your baby hard and solid foods such as chilled and peeled cucumbers. Just be sure to monitor the child when gnawing and swallowing. *Note that any pieces from the hard and solid foods can be considered choking hazards. 
  • Natural Wooden Teething Rings: these are wooden, bracelet shaped rings that are ideally for the baby to chew on. they can be purchased or you can D.I.Y. I suggest googling for ideas as there are many options and variations.
example of a wooden teething ring
  • Baltic Amber Teething Necklace: these are not for your baby to chew on. If the baby can chew on them, then they are too long. Amber necklaces are believed to work therapeutically; your baby's body heat will heat the amber, allowing it to release natural oils that can be absorbed by the skin. The natural oil have natural oils have natural analgesic properties that offer pain relief and calming effects.
example of baltic amber necklaces

Amber teething necklaces are designed in such a way that toddlers and babies can conveniently wear them. These are short enough to prevent them from reaching the baby's mouth. Most of these necklaces also come with breakaway clasps and a knot between every bead; this prevents the beads from spilling over in case the necklace breaks The best teething necklaces are those made of potent, lightly colored, raw and unpolished beads. Some parents however, worry about buying unpolished stones for fear these will scratch or injure their child. One way to prevent this from happening is to ensure that you get a necklace with a breakaway clasp and buy from a reliable source. 

*Helpful information on Baltic Amber Necklaces. A excerpt from a blog of shadowhawk1231 on Word Press, a natural DIYer :

"Proponents of Baltic Amber teething necklaces will tell you that Baltic Amber has an analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, is electromagnetic and produces natural organic energy, is anti-microbial, contains antioxidants that help fight free radicals, has a slight sedative effect, and activates the solar plexus and root chakras.  Now you may immediately write it off as hippy propaganda and while the science is debatable there is some truth to these statements. First off, the Baltic Amber teething necklaces are thought to work on one of two mechanisms:

1) Baltic Amber contains succinic acid (true) which is suggested to have the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects (some evidence – mostly anecdotal but there are a few, and far between, empirical studies researching this claim).  Succinic acid is a natural ingredient in many fruits and vegetables (true) and an additive in many vitamin supplements and food products (true).  Also known as Succinate, succinic acid can often be found as an ingredient in OTC supplements used to treat arthritis and joint pain (true).
  • Proponents of the Baltic Amber teething necklaces suggest that when the amber is worn against the skin the body heat activates the succinic acid which is then absorbed by the skin and has an analgesic effect.  There is no doubt that amber does indeed contain succinic acid but the question arises as to whether body heat is sufficient to release the succinic acid and/or whether or not the succinic acid can be absorbed through the skin to have the same affect as taken internally as a dietary supplement.
2) Baltic Amber has an electromagnetic charge (true) which reduces pain and inflammation (debatable). There are a great deal of products on the market that claim to use electromagnetic energy to reduce pain (true).  But some studies claim that there is no significant reduction in pain using electromagnetic pulses and may, in fact, contribute to electro-sensitivity (true).
  • When amber is rubbed it does tend to produce an electromagnetic charge which will attract light bodies and magnetic iron ore.  Ancient Greeks suggested that when rubbed long enough amber would even produce an electric spark.  The question becomes, however, whether or not the rubbing of amber against the skin produces enough electromagnetic energy to be comparable to electromagnetic pulse therapy.
But the anecdotal evidence is strong. Baltic Amber specifically is a resin from pine trees that grew in Northern Europe around the Baltic sea as many as 300 million years ago.  It is harvested from the Baltic Sea floor by scraping the floor with nets and collecting the resin from tangles in seaweed and sand at ebb-tide. Baltic Amber has been used throughout history for pain management.  It is highly prized among the Nordic people, Celts, Mediterranean peoples, Arabs, Egyptians, Chinese  and Greeks for it’s beauty as well as healing properties. Those who subscribe to the idea of Chakras claim that it helps balance the Chakras by filling the body with vitality, alleviating stress, and drawing disease out of the body.  Because it is non-toxic, mother’s have been using Baltic Amber to treat teething pain for many years."  shadowhawk1231's blog
  • Homemade Teething Oils: giving my love for essential oils, I definitely would recommend a homemade teething oil. I also suggest you do your own research on oils, and baby's safety concerning essential oils and choose this blend for yourself. Or you may purchase a teething oil from a natural provider that you trust. For example, CLOVE OIL is popular for it's natural numbing properties. I would recommend diluting any essential oil with a carrier oil such as olive oil and try it first before you use it on your baby. 

  • Teething Necklaces for Mommy: these teething necklaces are designed for mommies who would like to wear something they can give their babies with emerging teeth something to teeth on. Most teething necklaces for mommies are made of the safest materials; these products give them the chance to entertain their babies while soothing the pain. The necklaces do not come with harmful chemicals, just like the natural teething rings, so babies can get the chance to teeth on the safest and most effective products. The best teething necklaces that moms can wear are those that are non-toxic and free of harmful chemicals and materials such as lead, latex, phthalate, PVC and BPA. I recommend the same for the teething rings. The necklace should also feature a breakaway clasp since this offers additional protection to the wearer and the baby.
example of natural teething necklaces

  • Silver Teething Ring: made of sterling silver, this ring can be chilled to provide soothing comfort for baby's gums. A much costlier option, these rings also can be kept as a keepsake and provide other uses. These rings have many variations, styles and customization options available. The good old "cold spoon" trick still works also. ;)
example of silver teething ring

  • Breastfeeding: Every baby displays a unique set of teething symptoms. There are also instances when sucking will aggravate the pain that usually comes with teething. Still, there are moms who prefer nursing their babies more frequently since thy feel that this can offer comfort. Consider rubbing his/her gums with a clean finger before starting and ending the breastfeeding session. This is essential, especially if your baby tends to bite when being nursed. 

You have to properly clean and care for your baby's teeth to ensure better long-term dental health. The first set of emerging teeth will fall out eventually; if there is decay, then the falling out process may be hasted. The problem with this is that it can lead to gaps before your child's permanent teeth erupt. This will further result to the crowding of the remaining primary teeth, as a means of filling the gaps. Crooked and misplaced teeth will then take place. 

Provide daily dental care to your baby even before his/her first tooth erupts. Use a clean gauze or a clean damp washcloth to clean and wipe his/her gums. 
"rabbit ears" cloth wooden ring teether

You can also use a soft infant-sized toothbrush, to brush your baby's gums gently, just make sure to avoid using toothpaste. Use water instead. You have to provide the best dental care to reduce the risk of your baby facing extreme pain and discomfort when his/her primary teeth start to emerge.

Encouraging good dental care now will be a lifelong skill that he or she will need in the long run. Kids who are exposed to the benefits of healthy teeth and gums are less likely to have early cavities or plaque buildup. 

Also, avoid letting your baby go to sleep with any sort of milk or juice once his/her teeth have grown in. That can lead to rotten teeth or more decay over a long period of time. 

Teething can be a difficult, painful and uncomfortable process not only for the baby, but also for the parents. Since babies are still sensitive to certain chemicals and substances, you have to consider curing their teething symptoms through the most natural means as possible. You should also make sure that anything claiming to be "natural" and/or safe is actually that. Use your better judgement and research instead of just picking up something with a green lid or that declares it is natural. It isn't always the case. 

*This blog contains information that is intended to help the readers be better informed consumers of health care. It is presented as general advice on health care and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should use it's own discretion with any matters relating to his/her health. 

No comments:

Post a Comment