AIM: To determine signs and symptoms associated with teething, parental beliefs about teething, and the effects of socioeconomic status on teething in Nigerian children. METHODS AND MATERIALS: A cross-sectional study consisting of 1,013 mothers of children between the ages four to 36 months who visited the immunization clinics at the Community Health Centres in Ife Central and Ife East Local Government Areas. Data was analyzed using STATA (Intercooled release 9) for Windows. RESULTS: A total of 765 mothers (75.5%) reported systemic signs and symptoms in their children. Fever (51.8%), diarrhea (12.5%), and vomiting (2.9%) were the most prevalent symptoms and signs reported. Teething problems were reported by 60% of mothers from a high socioeconomic class, as well as 76.7% and 77.9% from middle and low socioeconomic classes, respectively. Interestingly, 65.5% of mothers believed teething should be accompanied with systemic signs and symptoms such as fever (42.1%), diarrhea (13.9%), and vomiting (0.6%). No significant difference was noted between breastfeeding status, gender of the child, and reported systemic signs and symptoms noticed by the mothers. CONCLUSION: Most mothers in the study reported signs and symptoms adduced to teething in their children irrespective of their beliefs. Fever ranked highest of the signs and symptoms reported. Mothers of children from the high socioeconomic class reported fewer teething symptoms. Breastfeeding status and gender of the child had no effect on teething problems in the children studied. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Most signs and symptoms adduced to teething by parents may actually be due to underlying infections. Thus, there is a need to rule out occult infection during the tooth eruption period.
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