Parental Myths, Beliefs, Awareness and Practices Regarding Teething in Infants
Background: Teething is a physiological process that involves the eruption of teeth from their intraosseous position in the jaws into the oral cavity. Objective: To investigate parental beliefs, myths and awareness that exists regarding teething and to find out parental practices to alleviate teething troubles in their children. Study Design: Descriptive cross-sectional study. Settings: This study was conducted at Outpatient Department of Sharif Medical and Dental College & CMH Lahore Medical College and Institute of Dentistry. Duration: Six months from May 13, 2021 to November 13, 2021. Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study encompassing 120 parents, conducted at the OPD of Sharif Medical and Dental College & CMH Lahore Medical College and Institute of Dentistry. Parents who have had a past experience of managing their child during his/her teething period were enquired, using a self-designed and validated structured questionnaire. Results: According to 87.5% of the parents it was problematic for them to manage their child during teething. Most frequent sign and symptom reported by parents was general irritability (80%), followed by diarrhea (74.2%) and desire to chew / bite on something (70.8%). To alleviate their child’s teething troubles, 43.3% of them used homeopathic medicine and 26.7% allowed bottle feeding at night. Almost one-third parents regarded delayed eruption as an abnormality and indication of presence of underlying systemic disease, hence, 2.5% of them wanted to take the child to a faith healer while, 4.2% were in favor of getting a gum incision. Interestingly, 17.5% and 6.7% parents thought that early eruption is a sign of intelligence of the child and sign of a cursed family respectively. Conclusion: Myths related to teething and erroneous parental practices to deal with this phenomenon can be detrimental to Childs health, however it is still being reported by few parents. Hence, this matter needs to be addressed and false beliefs to be eliminated with the help of dental health professionals through parental education.