FDA: Lidocaine Should Not be Used for Teething

June 26, 2014—Prescription oral viscous lidocaine 2 percent should not be used to treat infants and children with teething pain, the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement.
Oral viscous lidocaine is a local anesthetic used to treat mouth sores or irritated throats due to cancer chemotherapy and certain medical procedures. It is “not approved to treat teething pain, and use in infants and young children can cause serious harm, including death,” according to the FDA statement.

The FDA is also encouraging parents and caregivers not to use topical pain relievers for teething pain that are available over the counter because some of them can be harmful. Topical pain relievers that are rubbed on the gums are not necessary or even useful because they wash out of the baby’s mouth within minutes. For oral viscous lidocaine, the FDA will require a boxed warning—its strongest warning—to alert purchasers not to give the drug to infants and children.

During the first few years of your child’s life, all 20 baby teeth will push through the gums and most children will have their full set of these teeth in place by age 3. As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, it’s time to schedule a dental visit. The ADA recommends that the first dental visit take place within six months after the first tooth appears, but no later than a child’s first birthday. Don’t wait for them to start school or until there’s an emergency. Get your child comfortable today with good mouth healthy habits.

For more detailed information about oral viscous lidocaine, visit the FDA Drug Safety Communication.