Maternal Perception of Teething in Infancy: Implications for Health Education
AbstractParents 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