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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 21-24

Maternal perception of teething in infancy: Implications for health education

Institute of Child Health, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

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N Uwaezuoke
Institute of Child Health, U.N.T.H., Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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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 (X 2 = 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.

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