National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Sept. 9, 2014—Sept. 27 marks National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, 10am-2pm. You can play an important role in keeping prescription medications from becoming a source of abuse in your household by disposing of unwanted prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicines in a safe way. The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. 

Enter your ZIP code to find the nearest collection site in your city.

Study: HPV More Prevalent in Cancer of the Tonsils

July 31, 2014—A CDC study published in May reports a high prevalence of Human papillomavirus infection in tissue samples from people with cancer of the tonsils (oropharyngeal cancers).

The study appeared in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases and involved the detection, extraction and typing of HPV DNA from 557 tumor tissue samples, of which 72 percent were HPV positive. According to the researchers, the study indicated that the rate of HPV in these samples is higher than those reported in previous smaller studies. The high levels support a possible association between HPV infection and these cancers, but at this time, it is only an association since other risk factors—chiefly tobacco and alcohol use—are also associated with cancers of the mouth and throat.

More studies are needed to determine if vaccination aids in the prevention of HPV-associated cancers. The ADA will continue to provide guidance to the dental profession and public about HPV-associated mouth and throat cancers. For more information, visit the CDC.

Red Wine Not Shown to Prevent Cavities

July 10, 2014—Have you seen news stories declaring the cavity fighting powers of red wine? Think it seems too good to be true?

You’re right to be skeptical. Despite recent stories, it turns out that drinking red wine hasn’t been shown to be good for your teeth. The stories were based on a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry which found that red wine with or without alcohol had no effect on the growth of S. mutans, the bacteria that causes cavities. What the researchers actually reported was that red wine and dealcoholized red wine were effective in limiting growth of F. nucleatum and S. oralis—two bacteria that are closely associated with gum disease.

So, does this mean red wine may be good for gum health? Maybe. If you hold it in your mouth for two minutes every seven hours for seven days like the researchers did. For now, the ADA recommends you stick to brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing daily for good dental health.

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.

Is Oil Pulling Good for my Mouth?

May 20, 2014—In recent months, the mainstream media has reported on “oil pulling” and its benefits for dental and general health. The claims state that oil pulling—swishing oil in the mouth—whitens teeth, and improves dental health and overall health.

Oil pulling is an ancient, traditional folk remedy that has been practiced for centuries in India and southern Asia. The practice involves placing a tablespoon of an edible oil (e.g., sesame, olive, sunflower, coconut) inside the mouth, and swishing or “pulling” the oil through the teeth and mouth for anywhere from 1-5 minutes to up to 20 minutes or longer.

Currently, there are no reliable scientific studies to show that oil pulling reduces cavities, whitens teeth or improves oral health and well-being. Based on the lack of scientific evidence, the American Dental Association does not recommend oil pulling as a dental hygiene practice. The ADA continues to recommend that to maintain good dental health you brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste and floss between your teeth once a day and don’t use tobacco.

March is National Nutrition Month

March 3, 2014—This March marks the 41st celebration of National Nutrition Month, an annual campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year’s theme, “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right,” focuses on finding the balance between the foods you like and getting the nutrients you need.

Healthful eating is important for many reasons, including your dental health. Your eating habits play a big part in prevent cavities and gum disease. For more information about NNM, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website and the MouthHealthy Nutrition section.

ADA Uses Fluoride Toothpaste to Fight Children's High Cavity Rate

Feb. 4, 2014—To fight cavities in children, the American Dental Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs has updated its guidance to caregivers that they should brush their children’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth comes in. This new guidance expands the use of fluoride toothpaste for young children.

To help prevent children’s tooth decay, the CSA recommends that caregivers use a smear of fluoride toothpaste (or an amount about the size of a grain of rice) for children younger than 3 years old and a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste for children 3 to 6 years old.

"For half a century, the ADA has recommended that patients use fluoride toothpaste to prevent cavities, and a review of scientific research shows that this holds true for all ages," said Edmond L. Truelove, D.D.S., chair of the Council on Scientific Affairs. "Approximately 25 percent of children have or had cavities before entering kindergarten, so it’s important to provide guidance to caregivers on the appropriate use of fluoride toothpaste to help prevent their children from developing cavities."

Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking turns 50

Jan. 15, 2014—The U.S. marked the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health by expanding the list of illnesses associated with smoking.

More than 20 million Americans have died because of smoking since the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health was issued in 1964, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Most of those deaths were of adults who smoked, but 2.5 million were of nonsmokers who died because they breathed secondhand smoke—air that was polluted by other people’s cigarette smoke.

The Surgeon General’s office has put together a free, easy-to-read, illustrated booklet that summarizes the 2014 report. The booklet is designed to give concerned adults information to help them make choices that will improve their own health and the health of their children, their families, and their communities. For more information, visit the Surgeon General's website.

New Ad Council game inspires kids to brush 2min 2x

Jan. 15, 2014—The Ad Council and Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives has released a new mobile gaming app, Toothsavers, now available online, and for Android and iOS devices. 

The free mobile game inspires kids to brush their teeth for two minutes, twice a day by enlisting them in rescuing friendly fairy tale characters from an evil, cavity-creating sorceress who cast a wicked teeth-rotting spell on the kingdom. The Toothsavers game includes three features to help parents and their kids learn about the importance of dental health: 

  • The game calls on kids to be heroes. In a timed, finger-swipe brushing game, they can save 10 characters in a fairy tale kingdom from an evil, cavity-creating sorceress. 
  • The two-player version of the game allows for kids to “brush” the teeth of their friends and parents when the mobile device is held up to their mouths. 
  • The app also offers a real-life toothbrushing companion for kids and parents to keep track of their brushing progress, as well as morning and nighttime reminders. 

For more information, visit the Toothsavers game online.

6 million more residents receiving fluoridated water

Dec. 16, 2013—More U.S. residents are receiving the benefits of fluoridated water, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The latest water fluoridation statistics show that community water fluoridation is now available to 6 million more residents than in 2010. 

"We are very pleased to report this positive news about the continued increase in fluoridation coverage in our nation," said Dr. Katherine Weno, director, CDC Division of Oral Health. "These new statistics show that a substantial number of additional people in the United States are now receiving the decay-prevention benefits of fluoridated water." 

Dec. 8-12 marks National Influenza Vaccination Week

Dec. 8, 2013—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created National Influenza Vaccination Week as a way of highlighting the importance of flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. According to CDC, as long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, a flu vaccination can still provide protection. Flu activity doesn't usually peak until January or February in the United States, and the season can last as late as May, so it is important to vaccinate now if you haven't already. For more information, visit the CDC.

November is American Diabetes Month

Nov. 1, 2013—Did you know taking care of your mouth could help prevent diabetes? According to a recent study inThe Journal of the American Dental Association, one in five cases of total tooth loss in the United States can be linked to the disease.

The American Diabetes Association estimates that of the 26 million people who have diabetes, some 7 million have no idea that they have the disease. This is important because if you have diabetes, you are at greater risk of developing some oral health problems. “Oral health and overall health are related, so part of my role as a dentist is to flag signs of poor oral health that might also signal other serious health conditions,” said Dr. Alice G. Boghosian, an ADA consumer advisor. “Severely inflamed gums, coupled with a patient’s medical history, can be cause for concern.”

Patients with diabetes also have a lower resistance to infection. That, along with a longer healing process, makes them more susceptible to developing gum disease. Visit the National Diabetes Education Program to learn more about preventing and controlling diabetes.

Take the National Brush Day pledge!

Oct. 28, 2013—In anticipation of Halloween, families are carving pumpkins, children are picking the perfect costume, and the store aisles are filled with bags of candy waiting to be purchased for the big night.

Simultaneously, the Ad Council and the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives are prepping for our first ever National Brush Day on November 1— the day after Halloween. It’s a perfect time to reinforce good habits for healthy teeth after a night of children eating lots of sticky sweets.

Dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in America. But less than half of children currently brush their teeth as often or as long as dental health experts recommend.

National Brush Day is an extension of our Kids’ Healthy Mouths public service advertising  campaign designed to supply parents with simple ways to get their kids brushing their teeth for just two minutes, twice a day; which can significantly reduce their risk of oral pain and dental decay.

You can help make a difference in your child’s health by taking the pledge to brush with them on National Brush Day and every day. Spread the word, and brush! Take the National Brush Day 2min2x pledge here.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Oct. 25, 2013—This Saturday, Oct. 26, marks the 7th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, 10am-2pm. You can play an important role in keeping prescription medications from becoming a source of abuse in your household by disposing of unwanted prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicines in a safe way. The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

Enter your ZIP code to find the nearest collection site in your city.

Fluoride does not increase risk for hip fractures

Oct. 1, 2013—Fluoride does not increase risk for hip fractures.

In a study published on behalf of the International and American Associations for Dental Research, Swedish researchers found no association between chronic consumption of fluoridated water and an individual's risk for a hip fracture. The analysis, one of the largest of its kind, studied more than half a million individuals who were regularly exposed to various fluoride levels in drinking water.

The full report can be found in the Journal of Dental Research

Ad Council survey reveals more kids brushing 2min 2x a day

August 29, 2013—More children than ever are regularly brushing their teeth, according to a survey released today by the Ad Council.

The survey, part of the Kids’ Healthy Mouth campaign sponsored by the Ad Council and Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, revealed that more parents report regularly monitoring and maintaining their child’s oral health; subsequently, more children are regularly brushing.

Since launching in August 2012, the campaign has received widespread media exposure through TV, radio, print, outdoor and digital Public Service Advertisements in both English and Spanish. The PSAs were designed to reduce the prevalence of dental decay by motivating parents to promote good oral health habits with their kids by reminding them to brush two minutes, twice a day to avoid oral pain in the future.

According to the study administered by the Ad Council:

  • More than 50 percent of parents surveyed have seen or heard the new Kids’ Healthy Mouths PSAs.
  • Significantly more parents in 2013 report that their child brushes at least twice a day compared to before the campaign launched (55 percent of English-speaking parents in 2013, up from 48 percent in 2012, and 77 percent of Spanish-speaking parents in 2013, up from 69 percent in 2012).
  • Parents in 2013 were also more likely to report their child brushes for at least two minutes each time (64 percent of English-speaking parents in 2013, up from 60 percent in 2012, and 77 percent of Spanish-speaking parents in 2013, up from 69 percent in 2012).

For more information about Kids' Healthy Mouths, visit

Milk may help reduce tooth decay 

August 16, 2013—According to a study in The Journal of the American Dental Association, drinking milk after eating sweet foods could help reduce the damage sugar can do to your teeth.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Dentistry tested the effects of drinking milk, apple juice or water on teeth directly after eating a sugary cereal and whether it would affect the acidity of dental plaque.

They found that drinking milk after eating cereal helped lower plaque acid levels the most, followed by water, cereal only and apple juice. To read the entire study, visit JADA online.

Medical device problem? Tell MedWatch 

July 16, 2013—The Food and Drug Administration wants parents and caregivers to know that if they experience problems that prevent the safe use of pediatric medical devices to report them to MedWatch, the agency's Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.

"As technology provides more health care options, children are frequently diagnosed or treated with one or more medical devices," the FDA notes, making it more important than ever for people to report problems as soon as possible. This is especially important if the potential problems might jeopardize the safety or care of a child.

"Parents and guardians should know that not every problem is related to a child's underlying illness or environment," says Joy Samuels-Reid, M.D., a pediatrician at FDA. "Most people are aware that drugs can have side effects, but they may not know that medical devices can have problems or may contribute to adverse events, too."

For more information about MedWatch, visit the Food and Drug Administration.

Oklahoma tornado relief

May 21, 2013—The American Dental Association would like to express its sympathy to the victims of the recent Oklahoma tornado. To make a donation to those affected or apply for an emergency grant via the ADA Foundation, please visit the ADA resource page here.

The Oklahoma Dental Association is currently a donation site for the American Red Cross. Items needed include toothbrushes, toothpaste, bottled water, diapers, hand sanitizer, and individually-wrapped snacks.

Those wanting to donate may call 405.848.8873 for more information or are encouraged to bring donated items directly to the ODA headquarters in Oklahoma City at 317 NE 13th Street.

Drop that pacifier!

May 6, 2013—Should you suck on a pacifier before giving it to your baby?

A new study in Pediatrics, journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, reports that parents sucking their infant’s pacifier may reduce the risk of allergy development.

The ADA wants parents to be aware that licking a pacifier can transfer the cavity-causing bacteria from parents to children—increasing the possibility of tooth decay as they grow.

"A child's teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they begin to erupt," said Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, a pediatric dentist in Maine and a pediatric dental spokesperson for the ADA. "Cavity-causing bacteria, especially Streptococcus mutans, can be transferred from adult saliva to children, increasing their risk of getting cavities."

Sharing eating utensils with a baby, or the parent sucking on a pacifier to clean it, can also increase the likelihood of transmitting decay-causing bacteria.

The ADA recommends that parents protect the dental health of young children by promoting a healthy diet, monitoring their intake of food and drink, brushing their teeth or wiping gums after mealtimes, and by having infants finish their bedtime or naptime bottle before going to bed. The ADA recommends that children receive their first dental visit within six months of eruption of the first tooth and no later than 12 months of age.

Community water fluoridation "benefits all"

April 22, 2013—"A lifetime of cavity prevention can be obtained for less than the cost of one dental filling,” said U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., when speaking about the health benefits of fluoride.

In a letter presented during the 2013 National Oral Health Conference, Dr. Benjamin praised community water fluoridation for its effectiveness in preventing tooth decay in both children and adults, noting that “each generation born since the implementation of water fluoridation has enjoyed better dental health than the generation that preceded it.”

One of the most important things about community water fluoridation is that it "benefits all" residents of a community, she said.

“These benefits are not limited by a person’s income level or their ability to receive routine dental care.”

For more information about fluoride, visit MouthHealthy’s Fluoride page.

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 1, 2013—April is National Facial Protection Month. That's why the ADA, Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and American Association of Orthodontists are teaming up to remind parents, coaches and athletes to play it safe and always wear a mouthguard during recreational and organized sports.

Remember: Mouthguards don’t just protect your teeth. They also cushion blows to the face and minimize the risk of injury to your lips, tongue and jaw.

Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about selecting a mouthguard that will provide the best protection. Although mouthguards typically only cover the upper teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest that you use a mouthguard on the lower teeth if you have braces on these teeth too. 

Oral cancer exams save lives

April 1, 2013—Did you know almost 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or throat cancer this year? And that the 5-year survival rate of those diagnosed is only slightly more than 64 percent? When cancer is detected and treated early, treatment-related health problems are reduced.

This year the American Dental Association, American Academy of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, American Academy of Periodontology and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have joined the Oral Cancer Foundation in its campaign to remind everyone that regular oral cancer examinations from your dental professional are the best methods to detect oral cancer in its early stages. Regular dental visits can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, at a time when cancer can be treated more easily.

In between dental visits, it is important for patients to be aware of the following signs and symptoms, and to see their dentist if they do not disappear after two weeks:

  • a sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
  • red or white patches
  • pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
  • a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
  • difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

For more information about oral cancer, its diagnosis and treatment, visit the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Dental amalgam is a safe and effective filling option

March 28, 2013—The March 28 episode of “The Dr. Oz Show” contained a segment that portrayed dental amalgam, or silver-colored fillings, as a health risk.

The American Dental Association wants you to know that not one credible scientific study supports the claims made on the show. The show also ignored that major U.S. and international health and scientific organizations, including the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, and the ADA, all agree that, based on extensive scientific evidence, dental amalgam is safe and effective for patients.

Dental amalgam is one of several safe and effective choices available to dental patients. It is a durable, cost-effective, long-lasting filling material, making it appropriate for restoring back teeth, and more affordable than gold or tooth-colored fillings made of composite resins.

Ultimately, the best dental filling is no dental filling. Prevention is the best medicine. You can dramatically decrease your risk of cavities and other dental diseases simply by brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste; flossing daily; eating a balanced diet; and visiting the dentist regularly.

For more information on dental amalgam, please read the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs statement. The Mayo Clinic, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Alzheimer’s Association have previously posted public statements about the safety of amalgam based on scientific evidence.

What you eat affects your dental health

March 1, 2013—A healthy mouth is more than just brushing and flossing. Your eating patterns and food choices also play an important role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

This March is the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month, an annual campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year’s theme, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day,” highlights the importance of making informed food choices and developing personalized healthful eating plans. For more information about National Nutrition Month, including information on reading food labels and healthy snack ideas for kids, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for tip sheets and more.

Remember, for good dental health, keep these tips in mind when choosing your meals and snacks:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups, including: whole grains; fruits; vegetables; lean sources of protein such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish, dry beans, peas and other legumes; low-fat and fat-free dairy foods.

For more information, visit MouthHealthy Nutrition.

Celebrate National Children's Dental Health Month

February 1, 2013—Each February, the American Dental Association sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. The premiere event of NCDHM, Give Kids A Smile Day, is Feb. 1.

The ADA launched the GKAS program nationally in 2003 as a way for dentists across the country to join with others in their community to provide dental services to underserved children. The program initially began as a one-day event in February, but has since grown to local and national events year-round.

Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

To find out if there is a GKAS program in your area, visit the American Dental Association's GKAS program-finder.

To download fun oral health worksheets and games, visit the For Kids section on MouthHealthy.

Hurricane Sandy update

November 1, 2012—The American Dental Association would like to express its sympathy to the victims of Hurricane Sandy, a devastating storm that has affected more than seven million people across the Eastern seaboard.
In the wake of such a disaster, you may know people who require medical attention, including dental emergencies. However, some dental offices have also been damaged by the hurricane. So if you are a patient from one of the affected states who cannot locate your dentist, your state or local dental society may have resources for referrals and treatment here.
For additional information and resources on coping with disasters such as Sandy, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Dental X-rays remain a valuable tool in detecting oral health problems

September 15, 2012—A study published in Cancer, the peer-viewed journal of the American Cancer Society, found that people diagnosed with meningioma, a generally non-cancerous tumor, are more likely to report that they’ve received certain types of dental X-rays in the past.
There are several important things to understand about this study:

  • This finding doesn’t mean that dental X-rays cause these tumors; much more research is needed.
  • The results rely on the individuals’ memories of having dental X-rays taken years earlier. The ability to recall information is often imperfect. Therefore, the results of studies that use this design can be unreliable because they are affected by what scientists call “recall bias.”
  • The study acknowledges that some of the subjects received dental X-rays decades ago when radiation exposure was greater. Radiation doses were higher in the past due to the use of old X-ray technology and slower speed film.

The American Dental Association's long-standing position is that dentists should order dental X-rays for patients only when necessary for diagnosis and treatment. Since 1989, the ADA has published recommendations to help dentists ensure that radiation exposure is as low as reasonably achievable. As precautions against radiation, ADA encourages the use of abdominal shielding (e.g., protective aprons) and thyroid collars on all patients. In addition, the ADA recommends that dentists use E or F speed film, the two fastest film speeds available, or a digital X -ray.

Dental X-rays are a valuable part of detecting oral health problems at an early stage. Many oral diseases can’t be detected with a physical examination alone. Dental X-rays help provide information about a patient’s oral health such as early-stage cavities, gum diseases, infections and some types of tumors. How often dental X-rays should be taken depends on the patient’s oral health condition, age, risk for disease and any signs and symptoms of oral disease that the patient might be experiencing. If you have concerns the ADA encourages you to talk to your dentist, but eliminating X-rays altogether could be detrimental to your oral health.

New program aims to improve school lunches

August 21, 2012—It's back-to-school time and school lunches are making headlines. Nutritional standards are getting a boost this year courtesy of the National School Lunch Program.
Passed by Congress in 2010, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act led to the adoption of the National School Lunch Program, which aims to make school lunches more wholesome and nutritious by offering more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And with tens of millions of kids being fed healthy school lunches each day, the program is well on its way.
The new standards encourage schools to provide 1/2 to 1 cup of fruit per day, 3/4 to 1 cup of vegetables per day, and adopt new age-based calorie ranges. For a full list of school lunch standards and more on nutrition, visit Mouth Healthy’s Nutrition Page.  

FDA warns against using benzocaine products in children under 2

May 31, 2012—When a baby is teething, mom and dad want to help stop the pain. For this reason, gel and spray products are available that contain benzocaine, a topical anesthetic. However, the Food and Drug Administration has warned that these products should not be used for children under 2, except under the advice and supervision of a health care professional. The reason? Benzocaine has been associated with a rare but serious, and sometimes fatal, condition called methemoglobinemia.

What is methemoglobinemia? In simple terms, it’s a disorder in which the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry is greatly reduced. Although it can occur in older children and adults, children under 2 appear to be particularly at risk. That’s because since 2006, the FDA has received 29 reports of benzocaine gel-related cases of methemoglobinemia, and 15 of these have been in children under 2.

According to the FDA’s consumer update, here are some of the symptoms of methemoglobinemia:  

  • pale, gray, or blue colored skin, lips and nails
  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue
  • confusion
  • headache
  • light-headedness
  • rapid heart rate

The ADA’s Seal of Acceptance Program currently has two topical benzocaine-containing pain relief products that bear the ADA Seal, neither intended for children under 2. These products are Benzodent Dental Pain Relieving Cream by Chattem, and Professional Strength Kanka Mouth Pain Liquid by Blistex. Both products contain 20 percent benzocaine and contain the following label statements:

  • For the temporary relief of pain due to minor irritations of the mouth and gums caused by dentures or orthodontic appliances or minor injury to mouth and gums. Kanka also says that it can be used to help relieve pain from canker sores. 
  • Children under 2 years of age: consult a dentist or physician.
  • Children under 12 years of age should be supervised in the use of this product. 
  • Keep out of reach of children.

For more information on these and other oral care products that carry the ADA Seal, visit the ADA Seal page on MouthHealthy. Products that bear the ADA Seal have undergone a rigorous, independent, scientific review to ensure that they meet ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness.