Feature Article

Teething: a problem for children, parents and their doctors

Kamila Plutzer, Marc JNC Keirse
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Teething symptoms can be due to more serious health problems and parental administration of analgesics can mask these problems in young children. Unfortunately, once more serious problems have been excluded, there is no evidence-based information on what is effective in alleviating the discomfort of a teething child.

Key Points

  • Parents’ experiences are frequently at odds with the saying ‘teething produces nothing but teeth’.
  • Mothers report the presence of an average of five symptoms in their children at the time of first tooth eruption.
  • Teething symptoms can conceal more serious health problems that need to be excluded first.
  • Almost 90% of parents use over-the-counter medications to alleviate teething symptoms in their children.
  • Advice to parents to only use safe medications in the correct dosage and the correct way is not superfluous.