Many symptoms had been associated with teething in children with the possibility of overlooking potentially fatal condition. Symptoms that had been associated with teething include diarrhoea, fever, vomiting and cough. The possibility that any of these symptoms could have been due to other causes call for thorough investigation of the child before concluding that it is only "teething".
The study was carried out to assess the beliefs of nursing mothers concerning symptoms that are associated with teething among children and to identify those that would seek medical treatments in case of their children having such symptoms during teething.
Two hundred and ninety nursing mothers whose children had erupted at least a tooth were interviewed in the immunisation clinics of the University College Hospital and Adeoyo Maternity Teaching Hospital, both in Ibadan, Nigeria, on their beliefs and practice concerning teething in children.
One hundred and eighty-eight (64.8%) of the mothers associated symptoms such as fever, cough, catarrh and diarrhoea with eruption of teeth in their children. Over half of the women agreed that a child having either fever (51.0%), ear infection (57.6%) or cough (50.3%) should be promptly taken for medical consultation and not be tagged "teething", while for other symptoms such as gum pain (74.5%), sleepless night (56.6%), vomiting (51.4%) and diarrhoea (51.7%), over half of the mothers believed that the symptoms will resolve following the eruption of the teeth.
The study demonstrated that mothers in the study attributes several symptoms to teething, which could be detrimental to the survival of their children as the symptom could have been due to other causes. There is, therefore, need for public enlightenment to create awareness on the possible effect of presumptuous belief that childhood diseases are due to teething process.