Prevention of dental diseases in children. What is important?
Dental technician Aušra Gudžinskienė advises starting caring for a baby’s teeth right upon their appearance, and clean them in the morning and the evening. The doctor notes that two-thirds of toddlers of two years swallow two-thirds of toothpaste; therefore, she recommends to start using toothpaste when a child learns to rinse the mouth properly. An adult should watch a child brushing their teeth with a toothbrush and interdental floss up to eight years of age or at least until the toddler learns to fasten his or her laces, which confirms that hand education may be sufficient to clean his or her teeth.
Parents should pay attention not only to children’s oral hygiene but also to nutrition when caring for children’s teeth. The doctor advises only to drink fruit juices with food and avoid carbonated and sweetened drinks for at least the first 30 months. Food products that adhere intensely to the teeth (raisins, peanut butter, dried fruit) should also be avoided. Suggest that your child eats sweets after a meal, rather than snacking throughout the day.
The doctor emphasises that parents play a crucial role in shaping their child’s habits and knowledge of the environment. It is essential to take your child for a timely examination at the dentist’s - at least twice a year. Tooth decay is seen at the very beginning until the child feels pain; the treatment procedure is short and often painless. Dental technician Aušra Gudžinskienė tells us that during the first visit, the dentist examines the child’s teeth and explains the proper care. Also, the child gradually learns about the clinic environment and does not feel fear afterwards.
“Children who come to see a doctor with their parents are more confident. Parents show by their example that dentist visits are nothing to be afraid of, and when problems are noticed in time, dental treatment does not cause fear. So, we say goodbye to our little patients saying we will be waiting for another appointment,” the doctor shares her experience.
Why do children’s teeth need to be treated?
The question is, why should baby teeth be treated if they are going to fall out anyway? First of all, baby teeth have a significant influence on the condition of permanent teeth: untreated problems can damage the permanent teeth, and premature extraction can negatively affect the formation of dental occlusion. Also, baby teeth are needed for quality chewing (otherwise digestive problems may occur), correct articulation and aesthetics. Baby teeth are treated with local anaesthesia, so the child does not feel any pain.
Tooth decay: Treatment and Prevention
Tooth decay means tooth tissue degradation caused by bacteria present in the mouth. Symptoms of this disease include stains on the teeth, pain or sensitivity, and tooth cavity in the tooth. If you notice these signs, bring your child to the dentist immediately.
Statistics by the Global Forum on diseases prevention and control
- 1 in 5 children (about 20%) from 5 to 11 years has at least one tooth damaged by decay that needs to be treated.
- 1 in 7 children (about 13%) from 12 to 19 years has at least one tooth damaged by decay that needs to be addressed.
- AS MANY AS 9 in 10 young people over 20 has at least one tooth or tooth root canal irregularity.
How do dental sealants protect children’s teeth?
Sealants are part of the disease prevention program. These are sealing materials for the anatomical fractures of the teeth (furrows and pits) to prevent tooth decay in these areas. Sealants are administered in combination with other personal and professional prophylaxis procedures: fluoride applications, oral hygiene, nutritional advice.
A chewing surface of children’s teeth has furrows that can be deep and narrow, making it difficult or impossible to brush with a toothbrush. This increases the risk of tooth decay. Sealants that evenly cover the tooth surface and penetrate the furrows and areas that cannot be cleaned with a toothbrush, help prevent tooth decay by protecting against potentially harmful effects of the oral cavity (bacteria, the acids they produce, etc.). Fluorine in sealants contributes to the mineralisation of the enamel by strengthening it.
Today, it is widely acknowledged that dental sealants can be one of the best ways to protect children’s teeth against decay.