The appearance of primary teeth ( teething) is a natural process yet for many years it has been associated with a range of health problems in infants and young children. It also causes worry an anxiety for parents. The authors aimed to assess the impact of providing information on teething and its management as part of a randomized controlled trial to prevent early childhood caries.
What did they do
Mothers in the intervention arm of the a caries prevention study received three rounds of printed oral health promotion material related to teething and its management, provided at enrolment during pregnancy and when children were 6 and 12 months old. The last two information packages were mailed to the mother’s home address. Those in the control group did not receive the information. Data related to symptoms and management of teething were collected at the time of assessment for early childhood caries, when the children were 20 ± 2.5 (SD) months old
Of the 649 expectant mothers enrolled in the study, 441 completed the ‘Child’s oral health’ questionnaire.
- no significant differences in teething symptoms reported by mothers in the intervention (n = 232) and control (n = 209) groups.
- mothers in the intervention group were less likely to use topical and oral medications to manage teething problems (P < 0.03) and relied more on rubbing the gums to ease discomfort (P < 0.005) than mothers in the control group.
Providing mothers with information on how to address teething symptoms markedly reduced the use of medications for symptom relief. There is still need for better evidence, first, on what symptoms can or cannot be attributed to teething and, second, on what is effective in alleviating them.
Plutzer K, Spencer AJ, Keirse MJ. How first-time mothers perceive and deal with teething symptoms: a randomized controlled trial. Child Care Health Dev. 2012 Mar;38(2):292-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01215.x. Epub 2011 Mar 6.PubMed PMID: 21375564