The appearance of tooth decay in old age can be taken as a given, but is it normal or unpreventable that a large fraction of children suffer from tooth decay? I think not. Tooth decay is very easily prevented, but most people do not seem to care about this at all. In England, most kids over the age of 5 have bad oral environments.
113 000 samples were submitted to a research group that investigated the oral condition of 21% of the 5 year olds in Britain. The study was conducted by Public Health England, and showed that since 2008 the number of dental caries has dropped by 3%, but is still at the extremely high number of 27%.
Demographics also play a role in oral health, as the British Dental Association has found that children living in richer cities tend to have better teeth. Kids in the affluent Southeastern part had a rate of 21.2%, whereas kids in the poorer Northwest had caries 34.8% of the time. The city to gte the worst statistics was Leicester, where 53.2% of children had caries on their teeth.
While it is true that milk teeth fall out and are replaced, it is nonetheless important that we maintain them, as they are an important step in biological maturation. They serve as natural spacers, and they make sure that the adult teeth grow into the spaces reserved for them. Not to mention that kids with good teeth are less frustrated, and are easier to deal with, as they are not in constant pain, and get sick less often.
More than one million children under 5 have two or more fillings, and most of these fillings are preventable with good oral hygiene. A quarter of parents said that their kids brush once a day, and almost 50% of them mentioned that sometimes they do not brush at all, as the kids are too difficult or stressed out. The bigger problem is that parents feel guilty, and do not take their kids ot the dentist if a minor problem does occur.
The decay of milk teeth is preventable if you keep the following in mind:
- Stop eating sugar! Sugar is the main cause of tooth decay. Try and replace it with something else. Instead fo chocolate, eat some fruit or some seeds, and when drinking coffee or tea or hot chocolate, prepare the drink without sugar. If the child is used to sweet tastes, you can substitute refined sugar with xylitol or glucose, as these are not quite as bad for the teeth. Instead of soft drinks, drink water instead.
- Stop using pacifiers! Try and have the child use cups as soon as possible, and let them use a straw at first to get used to the idea of cups.
- Always brush their teeth, at least twice a day! Milk teeth are the same as adult teeth when it comes to cleaning them. Be a good example, make brushing time fun, you can brush together even, kids tend to like that. Once they are a little older, using an electric toothbrush can be a good idea, as it basically cleans their teeth for them. Although kids love flavored toothpaste, you may want to use neutral, so that brushing time is not thought of as a snack before bedtime.
- Make sure they get all of their vitamins! Teeth need nutrients. Calcium and D vitamins are essential!
- Go to your half year check ups! Providing a good example and taking your kids with you to your half year check ups will make them much less likely to be afraid of the dentist. Also, if the child goes to the dentist from an early age, the chances of developing a problem unnoticed are virtually zero. Not to mention that this way, you probably will not need to have any dental procedures done on your kids, which will feel like a great achievement!
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