New study raises concerns over sugar content of teething gels

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A new study has raised concerns over the contents of teething gels designed for babies and toddlers. 

Researchers from Public Health Wales discovered that many of the most popular products on the market contain potentially hazardous ingredients, including sugar (sucrose), alcohol, and lidocaine. Of 14 products that were analysed, 2 contained sucrose, and 6 contained alcohol and lidocaine. 

Nigel Monaghan, from Public Health Wales, suggested that there is little evidence to support the fact that teething gels work and urged parents to be cautious when buying products. Mr Monaghan’s comments were backed by the British Dental Association. 

The study was conducted following the publication of advice from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in December 2018, which prohibited the sale of teething products that contained lidocaine in high street shops and supermarkets. Lidocaine is an anaesthetic, which is used to numb the gums. Prior to announcing the new guidelines, the MHRA analysed products that contain lidocaine and found that the benefits were limited, and that there was a very small risk of harm. As an alternative measure to deal with teething pain, parents were advised to use teething rings or to gently massage the gums. 

The findings of the Public Health Wales study have been published in the British Dental Journal.

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