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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 8-12

Teething: Beliefs and behaviors of mothers attending well baby clinics in Benin City, Nigeria

1 Department of Community, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria
2 Department of Child Health, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Vincent Y Adam
Department of Community Health, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2384-5589.153377

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Background: Teething is an important developmental milestone in young children. Mothers attribute several symptoms to teething and their beliefs in turn affect their behavior towards the healthcare of children during the period of tooth eruption. This study assessed maternal beliefs and behaviors towards teething in young children in Benin City, Nigeria. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out among mothers who brought their babies to Well Baby Clinics in three health facilities in Benin City, Nigeria. The tool for data collection was a structured researcher-administered questionnaire. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 16.0. Results: Mothers of 420 children (mean age 16.2 ± 8.6 months) participated in the study. Over two-third 302 (71.7%) believed that infant teething is associated with various symptoms. The commonest symptoms reported were fever 258 (85.7%) and diarrhea 241 (80.0%) while the least was redness of the gums, 2 (0.7%). A greater proportion of respondents, 224 (74.4%), 186 (61.8%) and 184 (61.1%) managed teething discomfort with teething syrups, tepid sponging and teething toys respectively. More than half of the respondents 263 (54.3%) and 162 (56.3%) gave analgesics to relieve fever and oral rehydration solution (ORS) for diarrhea attributed to the teething process respectively. Conclusion: Mothers' beliefs encourage the use of "teething" as a ready explanation for childhood diseases. They utilize analgesics, ORS, teething syrup and herbal medications to relieve perceived teething symptoms. The misconception about teething can be corrected through health education of mothers when they access health facilities. The mass media may also be employed to reach a larger audience.

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