Dr my child is 10-years-old. When he was seven-months-old, false teeth were extracted because the child was getting diarrhoea and fever relentlessly. Today the child is still missing those teeth where the extraction was done. Will teeth ever grow back in those gaps? Lulunti Opio
Whenever a child has diarrhoea, fever, and vomiting at around the time infants’ teeth start sprouting, it is traditionally thought that false teeth or “ebinyo” are the cause and if the ‘offending’ teeth are not removed, the child is likely to die.
Then a bicycle spoke, may be used to extract the budding teeth (usually canine teeth) or a blade to cut the gum over the tooth bud to introduce herbs.
Many children get fever, diarrhoea and vomiting because of malaria, gastro-intestinal (alimentary canal) and respiratory tract infections common in Uganda and especially overcrowded slums. These places usually have, stagnant water, poor disposal of sewage that contaminates food and water sources risking the disease conditions.
This happens at the time a baby is beginning to teeth and the tooth buds swelling the gums, it is not surprising that then teething will be blamed for the ill health. At the same time, the infants are getting weaned off breastmilk, and begin to crawl hence putting every dirty thing in its mouth risking diarrhoea, vomiting and fever.
The term ebinyo then refers to the false teeth and the related fevers, diarrhoea and vomiting seen to accompany the false teeth that are then extracted by traditional healers as treatment.
Apart from damaging the tooth buds with consequences of never growing permanent teeth in those areas, the teeth if at all they grow, may be deformed in some cases.
Damage of surrounding tissues will worsen the pre-existing anaemia, and cause blood infection both which can worsen the conditions that caused the ill health but blamed on false teeth risking death.