The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to parents not to use teething products containing benzocaine on children under age 2, because the ingredient can cause life-threatening illness or even death.
The warning was issued Wednesday, according to a media advisory from Public Health Madison & Dane County.
Over-the-counter benzocaine-based products include Orajel, Orabase and Anbesol, the FDA said.
The products, in either liquid or gel form, are applied to the gums or mouth to reduce pain, most commonly used on infants when they are teething.
A rare condition called methemoglobinemia is caused by using benzocaine-based products, the FDA said.
"The condition results in a great reduction of the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream," the FDA said. "In the most severe cases, the condition can cause death."