Teething, not a disease that requires teething treatment

Teething can be difficult for babies. It can hurt when teeth break through the gums. While some babies make it through well, others are downright miserable. It’s hard to see a baby miserable, understandably some parents and caregivers reach for tooth powder, tooth syrup and traditional concoctions, including those containing benzocaine, which can numb the gums and ease the pain.

Teething is when the baby’s teeth start to come through their gum line. Most babies start teething between 4 and 7 months of age, but some start much later. It can be painful, but it doesn’t usually make babies sick.

The symptoms are not the same for every baby, but they can be swollen gums; nervousness and crying; want to chew hard things; drooling a lot, changes in eating or sleeping patterns; and bring their hands to their mouths.

Teething is a normal part of a baby’s development with no symptoms, although misconceptions about the process still exist in remote communities. For example, residents of Igbo-Ora, a rural town in Nigeria, still consider diarrhea (80.7%), fever (69.2%) and boiling point (64.4%) a must to accompany teething in one study. .

The study, involving Dr. Olubunmi Bankole and Dr. Folake Lawal, both dentists at the University of Ibadan, in the journal International Quarterly of Community Health Education, stated that teething powder, teething syrup and traditional concoctions were commonly recommended by 42.0 %, 31.6% and 48.1% of respondents, respectively, to treat and prevent teething problems.

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The majority of 71.5% of respondents indicated that using traditionally formulated teething soap to wash babies was effective in preventing teething problems. Traditional spiritual preventive methods include wearing traditional wristbands, amulets, bracelets, native beads around the child’s waist (kebekebe), and incisions made by herbalists and medicine men on the child’s skin.

Of particular importance, however, is self-medication with antibiotics for teething. This is popularly given to infants to treat teething diarrhea.

dr. However, Kemi Tongo, a pediatrician at University College Hospital, Ibadan, says that babies don’t need tooth powder, teething syrup and traditional concoctions to start teething because it’s a natural phenomenon.

According to her, “no teething mixture is needed; for example, the benzocaine in some teething syrups numbs the gums and soothes the pain like a local anesthetic.”

But along with numbing pain, benzocaine can turn hemoglobin into methemoglobin and cause a dangerous condition called methemoglobinemia.

Hemoglobin is the compound in the red blood cells of the blood that collects oxygen from the lungs and distributes it to the tissue. When the iron in hemoglobin is exposed to certain chemicals, including benzocaine, it turns into a form that traps oxygen instead of releasing it — meaning tissues in the body don’t get the oxygen they need.

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Because babies and toddlers are smaller, with less blood volume, they are at greater risk for this side effect.

The pediatrician added that other teething blends, a combination of acetaminophen, antihistamines and antimalarial drugs, also advertised that babies should be taken daily to treat and prevent teething symptoms.

According to her, “Teething is a natural process, just like you grow your hair; the teeth grow on their own. But because of the itchy or tingling sensation these babies have on their gums, they also start picking things up and putting them in their teeth.” mouth, so it’s not uncommon.

“At the same time, their mothers’ immunity is lost. It is also around this time when supplemental nutrition is introduced that the child begins to defecate, becomes susceptible to malaria and develops cough and congestion. So people tend to associate those things with teething. It’s not teething. Drug manufacturing only benefits from this by making these teething syrups.”

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dr. Tongo said giving children teething powder or syrup on a daily basis to treat and prevent teething problems could cause them a lot of harm because the ingredients in these products are in sub-optimal doses.

According to her, instead of giving children teething powder or syrup, as they get teething age and start picking things up and putting things in their mouths, mothers should take care of their hygiene.

“Teeth rings and toys have to be washed there. If they fall somewhere, just don’t pick them up and put them in the child’s mouth so they don’t get an infection and start pooping. Breastfeeding exclusively and continuing to breastfeed after 6 months is important. If the body temperature is high, the child should be taken to the hospital for treatment.”

It’s hard to have a miserable baby, it’s true. But it’s not worth the risk of giving kids teething powder or syrup. More recent prospective studies show that most of what are referred to as teething signs and symptoms are due to other causes.

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