Ask a dental expert and they would be quick to point out that dental decay in children and adults alike is a needless scourge in the diverse array of dental conditions. The explanation for this blanket statement is simple – dental caries are highly preventable and can be successfully treated by the interventions of a dental practitioner. Without the required attention of a dentist, Meath, the condition is guaranteed to escalate until more invasive measures, including tooth extractions, are needed to alleviate a patient’s painful and uncomfortable symptoms.
Modern diets that contain excessive amounts of sugar and the high presence of enamel-destroying acid in the mouth continue to wreak havoc on children’s dental health. Official figures released by Public Health England point to as many as 23 per cent of five year olds suffering with dental caries.
Why dental caries in children is a huge concern
The humble milk teeth play a far more prominent role in children’s health and wellbeing than at first thought. We tend to overlook the positives of milk teeth because they appear for such a short period in our lives. They are naturally designed to fall out once they have served their purpose, but not before their time is up. Children need their baby teeth for:
The ability to eat solid foods
To act as a directorial agent for replacement adult teeth
When milk teeth are in a state of decay, this can present a number of problems for the affected child:
Pain and discomfort
A child may be unwilling to bite and chew due to the pain this causes. Pain can interrupt a child’s life in other ways too. They may have trouble sleeping or are reluctant in participating in activities they once enjoyed.
Loss of focus
The pain may also interfere with a child’s schooling as they most likely feel the need to avoid going to school. The resulting pain from tooth decay can be so distracting as to make it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand.
If milk teeth are forced out of their sockets before their natural expiration date due to decay, this can cause problems for the adult teeth that are to follow. The gap left exposed after extraction will prompt neighbouring teeth to move into it. Seeing that the space the adult tooth was to occupy has been taken, the adult tooth is then obliged to break in another spot which is not its naturally ordained space. This may lead to overcrowding with the child needing orthodontic help to correct it.
To protect children’s teeth from decay, the NHS urges parents to offer a healthy diet that does not consist of excessive amounts of sugar, supervised toothbrushing to ensure they are doing it correctly, as well as routine dental check-ups at the dentist. In addition to this, it is a good idea for parents to look into buying fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes specially formulated for children.
Looking for a child-friendly dentist is also a good idea to create a positive dental experience. A dental practitioner well-experienced in providing quality dental care for younger patients and who welcomes medical card patients (Irish NHS) is worth their weight in gold.