CHILDREN’S ORAL HEALTH


Tooth decay, the most common childhood disease

A healthy mother’s pregnancy will ensure a good start for the baby’s oral health, because baby teeth start forming before birth.

That’s why if you’re pregnant, make sure you have a balanced diet rich in nutrients.

It’s important for pregnant women to have a complete dental check-up, with no cavities or untreated gum disease.

In infants, baby teeth usually start to break through the gum, or erupt, at 6 months of age, although the timing varies from baby to baby.

All 20 primary teeth should erupt between 6 months and 3 years. At the same time, your child will lose his or her primary teeth between the ages of 6 and 11. And the last permanent teeth usually erupt between the ages of 12 and 21.

Parents need to make sure that their child has healthy teeth from the time their first baby tooth appears.

Thereafter, proper oral hygiene and a healthy diet should be ensured, with the avoidance of juices and foods containing sugar, as well as limiting the amount of sweets consumed.

Attention! Even milk before bedtime is a possible risk factor for caries in children.

That’s why brushing after meals is essential, and drinking water in the evening before bed is recommended.

Tooth decay destroys the tooth and is classified as a dynamic problem, not a static one. In other words, the development of dental caries is a dynamic, episodic process: demineralization of hard dental tissue alternates with periods of remineralization. Baby teeth have thinner enamel than permanent teeth, making them very susceptible to decay.

As a rule, tooth decay in children is first noticed as a “white chalky spot.” Saliva plays a key role in preventing tooth decay, providing calcium, phosphate, protein, lipids, antibacterial substances. One factor that reduces the risk of caries formation is normal salivary flow, so if it is less than 0.7 ml/minute, there is an increased risk of caries development.

Early childhood caries manifests itself as a fairly aggressive, virulent form of tooth decay, and can destroy the teeth of pre-school children. The initial appearance of early childhood caries are white areas of demineralization on the enamel surface along the gum line of the upper incisor teeth.

Early childhood caries is a major health problem that continues to adversely affect the oral health of infants and children.

Basically, it is a chronic disease that is five times more common in children than asthma. Statistics show that around 40% of children have dental caries as early as the age of five. More serious, however, is the fact that these lesions lead to disruption of the child’s harmonious growth and development, bring pain and endanger the healthy development of permanent teeth through repeated infections.

Risk factors:

  • The presence of bacteria that adhere to tooth enamel and lead to demineralization of tooth structure.

  • Lowering of the pH, which also leads to demineralization and eventually to caries.

  • Frequent intake of carbohydrate-rich or sugar-containing foods will allow bacteria to build up and maintain a low pH on the tooth surfaces.

  • Feeding the child at night and not brushing afterwards leads to caries, as the flow of saliva decreases during sleep and the sweet fluid in the oral cavity is not properly eliminated.

  • The presence of streptococci in the oral cavity increases the risk of developing future cavities.

  • A low level of fluoride on the surface of the teeth reduces the remineralization process and increases the risk of caries.

  • Low interest in oral hygiene. Effective dental care requires early identification of children who are at increased risk of developing dental caries so that they can receive early intervention by a dentist. In addition, incorrect brushing will result in tooth decay. All the more so because baby teeth are inherently thinner

How do we prevent it?

The most important component in the treatment of caries is prevention, and this involves involving the parent in the proper care of the child and keeping to the dentist’s visiting schedule.

Any prevention activity should be started at an early age. Thus, at home, the parent must ensure that the child has healthy oral hygiene.

However, we must not forget the professional dental measures which are carried out by the dentist and which aim to prevent or treat tooth decay in baby teeth so that permanent teeth are healthy.

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