Maternal Perception of Teething in Infancy: Implications for Health Education

  • N Uwaezuoke Institute of Child Health, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu.
  • A Okoro Institute of Child Health, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu.

Abstract

Parents often attribute symptoms of some childhood diseases to teething despite little evidence to support this belief. To investigate maternal perception of this milestone, a hospital-based cross-sectional study was conducted in Enugu. Pre-tested structured questionnaires were administered to two hundred and eighty-nine (289) mothers who met the study criteria. The symptoms more frequently attributed to teething were fever (52%), vomiting/diarrhoea (46%) and gun discomfort (33%). Regarding knowledge of risk factors for tooth decay and drugs harmful to the teeth, a sizeable number who had primary education (50%), secondary education (47%) and post-secondary education (43%) scored only 2 points. On the whole, maternal knowledge score increased significantly with higher educational status (X2 = 27.32 p<0.05).

The need to expand the scope of health education at under-five clinics in this locality is evident. It is recommended that information on childhood dentition should be incorporated in health-education sessions in order to correct the erroneous perception of mothers on the subject.

Sahel Medical Journal Vol.7(1) 2004: 21-24
Published
2004-07-09
Section
Articles

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eISSN: 1118-8561