Update available here
This week, the FDA issued a warning against some teething gels due to an increase in cases of methemoglobinemia among children given such products. This blood disorder keeps oxygen from efficiently getting to the body’s cells. Because the main symptom is a bluish hue to the skin, the condition is also known as “blue baby syndrome.”
But why should a teething gel trigger the onset of what’s defined as an inherited disease?
It’s all about benzocaine – a local anesthetic that’s used in some gels, as well as over-the-counter toothache remedies such as Orajel. When such products are applied to the gums, the red blood cells in those tissues undergo hemolysis. That is, they’re destroyed and become methemoglobin – an altered form of hemoglobin that can’t carry oxygen. The iron in the blood is oxidized, like steel left out in the rain. And just as steel rusts, so the blood changes color, taking on a sort of choclatey hue. The tissues often become somewhat mushy.
Certain cells called phagocytes may contribute to the blood destruction by taking up cells that are still healthy. These cells may come from the spleen, where red blood cells go to die, or from the liver.
Young children experiencing these processes may get headaches or diarreha. They may experience loss of balance, weakness or trouble breathing due to the respiration of the oxygen-deprived cells being impaired. The biological terrain – the body’s total internal environment – also becomes more acidic.
The FDA recommends that parents should avoid using teething gels and instead use teething rings and similar alternative, or gently massage their child’s gums with a finger to alleviate soreness. There are also a couple of excellent homeopathic remedies that can help: Body Mend and Inflammation, both made by BioEnergetics. To learn more about these remedies, contact us.
Image by Lucy Crosbie, via Flickr