Challenging parents' myths regarding their children's teething

Int J Dent Hyg. 2010 Feb;8(1):28-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-5037.2009.00412.x.


Objectives: The aims of this study were to (i) investigate the parental beliefs about teething signs and symptoms, (ii) investigate the parents' practices used to alleviate teething troubles and (iii) provide an educational basis for dental healthcare providers to better educate parents on this subject.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in a random sample of 1500 parents attending Maternity and Child Health Care Centers. The self-administered questionnaire contained three sections: Section I surveyed parents' and their children's demographic characteristics, Section II aimed to assess the general knowledge and beliefs of parents regarding their children's teething. Section III aimed at investigating the practices that the parents would do to manage teething problems and relieve pain. The analysis of data was carried out using spss computer software. Descriptive statistics and Chi-squared test were utilized.

Results: Almost 75% of the participants incorrectly attributed fever, diarrhoea and sleep disturbances to teething, and more than 50% believed systemic symptoms are not related to the process. More than 50% of the participants allowed their children to bite on chilled objects, (76.1%) used systemic analgesics and (65.6%) rubbed the gums with topical analgesics to relieve the symptoms associated with teething.

Conclusions: This study shows a common lack of knowledge about teething among parents. Parents should be better educated about the teething process and the proper management of teething troubles by the dental health care providers.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diarrhea / etiology
  • Educational Status
  • Family Characteristics
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / etiology
  • Female
  • Fever / etiology
  • Gingivitis / etiology
  • Health Education, Dental
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mastication
  • Middle Aged
  • Oral Health
  • Pain / prevention & control
  • Parents / education
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Sialorrhea / etiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Tooth Eruption / physiology*


  • Analgesics