Teething in Infants

Teething is the phenomena accompanying growth of teeth through the gums. The effect of teething on infant health has been debated for at least 5000 years, and traditional beliefs on the issue have still not been entirely superseded by scientific findings. Sumerians believed teething and worm infestation were associated. Hindu writings, as well as work by Aristotle, Homer, Celsus, and others, describe associations between teething and illness. Many of these authors implicated tooth emergence in childhood mortality. The belief that teething led to childhood mortality, seizures, diarrhea, fever, or other serious conditions was criticized as early as the 17th century by Francois Ranchin. Yet in 1839, 5016 deaths in England and Wales were attributed to teething. Illingworth wrote in 1975 that “teething produces nothing but teeth.” However, as recently as 1979, parents and physicians were identifying teething as a cause of presenting symptoms in children admitted to the hospital. A medical evaluation of 50 of these children showed that in 48 cases the symptoms, ranging from upper respiratory infection to bacterial meningitis. Most medical professionals now agree that teething does not cause life-threatening illness, but they disagree about which symptoms may be associated with tooth eruption.

Teething in Infants

However several studies with different study designs has revealed symptoms believed to be associated with teething such as loss of appetite for solids and liquids, drooling, biting or chewing various objects, congestion or runny nose, cough, sleep disturbances, restlessness and irritability, rash, spitting up or vomiting, and diarrhea and fever or mild temperature elevation. Anyhow It is important to inform parents that none of these symptoms consistently and accurately predict when teething is about to occur and any of other organic disorders should be ruled out in infants with these symptoms.
The recommended intervention for teething is the use of cold items because the cold acts as an anesthetic for the gums. Refrigerated pacifiers, Spoons, Clean wet washcloths, Frozen bagels or bananas, refrigerated teething rings can be offered to the infants at this stage.Topical teething gels sold over-the-counter (OTC) are often used for teething but may carry serious risks, including local reactions, seizures with overdose, and methemoglobinemia. Benzocaine containing teething gels should not be used in infants or children under 2 years of age. If necessary, parents should be instructed on proper dosing of analgesic medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

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