Teething and Cutting a Babies Gums

Patient

Q: My daughter's mother-in-law is obsessed with children teething. She thinks she is a genius because she slit her baby's gum with her thumb nail to "let the tooth come in." My daughter and her husband told her that this was not to be done to their children. She sneakily did it three times. Apart from risk of infection from her filthy thumb nail, is there any other risk or complication and should this be considered child abuse? Thank you.

Doctor

A:   You have correctly identified infection as the biggest risk and this should not be taken lighlty. An infection in the gum line can quickly spread to the blood system and to the rest of the body. In fact, it is believed some forms of hear disease are a direct result of initial dental infections.
I would advise your daughter of the above and try to ensure this does not happen again. It is not unplausiable to consider this a form of child abuse but that is more of a legal decision than a medical one.
I hope this helps

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