Clearing the Myths Around Dental Disease in Children

Many parents may consider that they have a sound understanding of how to care for their children’s teeth, but the results from numerous studies over the years show that this is far from the case.

Conclusions drawn from a recent study carried out by Oral-B have provided an interesting glimpse into the public health crisis that childhood tooth decay has become.

First is the battle of the tooth brushing routine with 70 per cent of British parents admitting to finding supervising this obligatory oral health practice particularly stressful. Due to parental frustrations and wanting to avoid the tantrums which usually precede tooth brushing time, many children don’t end up brushing their teeth twice daily, or, if they do get to, only brush for 76 seconds out of the dentist-recommended two minutes. 

The government and dental authorities can help curb the public health crisis that childhood tooth decay has become by creating awareness campaigns, but it is what happens in the home ultimately where the solution really lies.

Parental influence is critical to stop poor dental health in children

Due to prevailing misconceptions about children’s oral health, parents may not know just how critically important it is to have their child’s first dental appointment at a proper dentist Richmond. The Oral Health Foundation advocates this takes place as early as six months old, which is when a child’s first milk tooth makes an appearance. For other babies this may happen around their first birthday.

These dental visits serve another purpose as well – they are incredible opportunities to help a child become familiar with the dental practitioner and the sights and sounds of a dental environment, all of which helps in building a lifelong appreciation of dental health.

Another misconception surrounds milk teeth. Milk teeth serve a shorter length of service compared to permanent teeth which replace them. As they are not intended to offer a life-long service, the enamel is made relatively weaker which is why they are so easily vulnerable to dietary sugars and acids. Despite their short lifespan, milk teeth still need to be cared for properly to avoid the negative consequences that follow cavities and tooth decay.

The adverse effects of the frequent and excessive consumption of sugars and acidic foods in children’s diets has been well-recorded. It is not just the fact that many of the foods children eat are much too high in sugar, it is more the frequency of consuming these meals where the real danger lies. These unwanted levels of sugars and acids tend to draw out the minerals in enamel that keep them strong, leading teeth to put up a weak defence against the invasion of plaque.

Children suffering pain from tooth decay may avoid eating (their nutrition and physical development may become a concern), exhibit anti-social behavioural symptoms like withdrawing from activities they enjoy or from talking in general, to manage the pain. They may miss out on schooling because of lack of concentration or focus in their lessons impacting their mental development.

At the crux of the matter lies the fact that tooth decay is a particularly preventable disease, so it is quite important that we get to the heart of the reasons why this is happening, to prevent future generations of children from suffering poor oral health. For more information speak to a friendly experienced dentist.