Purpose: To determine the perceptions/beliefs and related practices of child healthcare workers regarding teething problems in Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study consisted of 103 out of 140 child healthcare workers at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex who responded to a structured self-administered questionnaire. The child healthcare workers comprised dentists, paediatricians, community health physicians, pharmacists and community health nurses. The data were analysed using STATA (Intercooled release 9) for Windows.
Results: A total of 77 (74.8%) child healthcare workers believed in systemic signs and symptoms of teething in children. A majority of the dentists (79.3%) and pharmacists (96.2%) believed in teething problems. None of them based their belief on evidence-based scientific principles, but instead on personal experience (36.4%), books (26%), local myths (20.8%) and school/workshop (16.8%). Fever (18.2%) and diarrhoea (15.6%) were the most prevalent symptoms and signs believed to be associated with teething. Fifty-seven of the child healthcare workers routinely prescribed various drugs for teething problems. The most prescribed drugs were paracetamol (70.2%), antibiotics (14.0%) and teething mixture (7.0%).
Conclusions: Most child healthcare workers in the study believed in teething problems and the beliefs were not based on evidence. They also prescribed various drugs for teething problems.