Teething ‘is a myth’

2014-09-01 00:00

PARENTS at Durban’s Baby Expo were stunned by an expert’s claim that teething problems for babies “don’t exist”.

Yesterday, paediatric dentist Dr Angela Gilhespie — author of The ABC of Children’s Teeth — insisted that the eruption of milk teeth was not a cause of fever, diarhoea or even discomfort for infants.

Instead, Gilhespie left crowds of parents dumbstruck at the MamaMagic event by revealing that the crying and fevers that tend to strike infants between four and eight months old were typically viral in nature, and merely coincided with the appearance of first teeth.

As a result, she said most of the teething products sold to parents were “not only unneeded, but can mask or delay treatment for the real cause”.

New parent Warren Murray said: “This is quite stunning. It will change our whole approach. We’ll definitely be seeing our pediatrician when these symptoms come up.”

Gilhespie said it was commonly the practice of kissing babies on the mouth — rather than anything to do with their gums — which was behind the intense pain widely associated with “teething”.

“That time coincides with the precipitous drop in the baby’s circulating antibodies passed from the mother. The baby is at high risk of infections — bacterial, viral and fungal,” she said. “[The cause] is often the herpes virus. We absolutely must not kiss babies on their mouths.”

Gilhespie said the teething “myth” had begun in Victorian times, and had somehow survived to the present.

“Why, in the 21st century, are we still perpetuating the myth of teething?” she said. “The eruption of teeth into a baby’s mouth is a painless, localised event.

“There is no cutting of the gum; no pain. Is it because of the interest of pharmaceutical companies in the lucrative sale of teething preparations, homeopathic remedies and anti-pyretic medicines?”

One mother, who asked not to be named, dismissed Gilhespie’s assertion as “incorrect, surely”.

“My youngest has been going through teething problems for weeks, just like my older two went through. It’s an amazing statement she’s making. I can’t accept it”.

But Kubashen Naidoo, from Malvern, said: “I feel conned. We’ve got some of these teething products, and here we learn its really something else completely.”

Gilhespie said one of the few true assumptions about teething was that it did, indeed, trigger excessive drooling — but said this was a natural part of learning to chew.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.