Tooth eruption (dentition) begins in most babies in the 6th month of life and is a painful process. Before a tooth reaches the light of the oral cavity, it first has to fight its way through the periosteum of the bone and then break through the oral mucosa (the gingiva). The periosteum is very sensitive to pain – we all know this from the shin bone – but the oral mucosa is much less sensitive. Tooth eruption can be accompanied by general symptoms such as fever and malaise.
Tooth eruption can be made somewhat easier by using biting aids (teething rings etc.). In the worst case, the pain can be reduced with a locally acting agent (local anaesthetic as a gel or ointment). Sometimes the administration of pain suppositories is recommended. But in all cases the certainty that it will pass will help. Loving care is always helpful.
However, there is no proof of effectiveness for homeopathic dental remedies (e.g. Chamomilla, complex preparations). Homeopathic dentistry neither influences the intensity of pain in the area of the periosteum, nor does it accelerate the speed at which the teeth break through.
In recent weeks, reports have also been circulating from the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (“FDA to Parents: Don’t Give Your Kids Homeopathic Teething Tablets”), which warned against homeopathic remedies for teething problems. As early as October 2010, the FDA warned consumers against the use of homeopathic teething tablets containing belladonna after reports of symptoms of belladonna poisoning in young children became known and the FDA found “inconsistent levels” of belladonna in the preparations and criticized the lack of child-proofing of the containers. According to the manufacturer’s label, the preparations at that time contained belladonna in a potency of D3, i.e. still with an active substance concentration at which a physiological effect could not be ruled out.
The products were recalled and, following a “revision of the production process”, were reintroduced into the product ranges in 2011.
Over the next six years, the FDA received a further 400 or so reports of children with disease characteristics typical of belladonna. Ten of these reports were fatalities. There were also a large number of consumer complaints in this regard, although it may be difficult to establish more than one temporal connection between the complaints and the use of the preparations in retrospect.
Due to the large number of complaints since the first warning in 2010, the FDA started a formal investigation into homeopathic dentistry products on 9 September 2016. A new FDA warning on these remedies was issued on 30 September 2016. According to the manufacturer, the current remedies contained Belladonna D6 and D12, respectively. In this dilution no effect / side effect would have been possible even with an overdose. On 27 January 2017, however, the FDA confirmed that, according to their laboratory analyses, the homeopathic preparations again contained “inconsistent amounts of belladonna […], some of which exceeded the amount stated on the label”.
Author: dentist Dr. med. dent. Hans-Werner Bertelsen