Partnering With Parents to Save Children’s Teeth

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Child tooth extractions have risen by 24% in the UK, according to a new report, underscoring the challenges for dental professionals in helping families protect the teeth of their most vulnerable members. While the sugar tax, set to be enacted in 2018, might provide some assistance, much more is needed. Dentists can partner with parents, midwives, GPs, teachers, and more to help protect children’s teeth before it’s too late.

The shocking report from the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons was made available earlier this year, and experts have blamed the rise in sugary drinks and foods as well as missing knowledge of oral health in the community at large for the shocking rise in dental caries and subsequent extractions. In fact, the faculty said that nine out of ten cases of tooth decay could have been prevented. Clearly articulating the risks of sugary foods and drinks and community effectively, the need for proper oral hygiene will be vital in the coming decade for the entire dental community.

Dangers of Sugary Foods

Parents and others often assume that children’s milk teeth don’t matter, but in fact, decay or removal of children’s first teeth can have implications for oral health later down the road. While sugary foods are convenient, common, and (of course) delicious, parents must be convinced to leave them on the shelf in exchange for healthier options such as cucumber slices or other fruits.

Parents must also be instructed in teaching their children to not snack all day long, as consistently holding food in the mouth can lead to dental caries, as well. It’s also important the medical practitioners present potential risks of breastfeeding past the age of two, as that has been shown to increase cavities in children.

Better Communication

Communicating proper oral hygiene is of utmost importance. In addition to avoiding sugar foods and constant snacking, parents must also teach children to brush their teeth, doing the job for their children until they’re old enough to do it correctly. Parents must also commit to regular dental appointments for their children, with the first beginning before their child’s first birthday.

Good dental hygiene starts in the home, and partnering with parents to understand the risks to their children’s teeth is vital. Parents must also understand how to solve those risks, and dentists are perfectly placed to be able to educate. 

Author Jane Sandwood

Posted by Gemma

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