Preventing Tooth Decay In Children
Tooth decay happens when traces of carbohydrate rich food like cakes, carbonated drinks, milk, bread etc. are left back on the surface of the tooth after they have been consumed. This food reacts to the bacteria present in the mouth and produces acids that in turn produce plaque which is a substance that sticks to the surface of the teeth.
The plaque eventually eats away the surface of the tooth, leading to canes. Cavities or caries occur when the structure of the tooth gets destroyed, resulting in the decay of the tooth. And cavities are usually caused by bacteria that can easily be prevented from spreading.
Causes And Major Risk Factors
Caries happens to be the most common chronic disease, especially in childhood and is live times more common than asthma, four times more common than childhood obesity and 20 times more common than diabetes. A child having one or more milk teeth either affected by caries or filled or missing due to caries under the age of six is said to be suffering from early childhood caries.
Children who are frequently exposed to sugary liquids like milk, breast milk, fruit juice, formula or sweet drinks are highly susceptible to early childhood caries which typically spreads rapidly due to the thin enamel covering in primary teeth. This leads to the damage of the child’s entire teeth and also affects his/her overall health.
Childhood caries goes beyond pain and infection. There are also increased chances of infection in the permanent teeth. Apart from that, loss of tooth! gross decay leads to speech and communication impairment, dietary nutrition problems, sleep, learning. playing impairment etc. which spill over to adult life.
Multiple visits to a dentist also leads to increased cost and time of treatment as some of the restorative materials and speech correcting oral appliances are very expensive. Another major effect is that the overall well-being of the child gets hampered due to loss of school days and play time.
Some habits inculcated at an early age last a lifetime and have long-term benefits. Parents should take some precautionary measures and encourage these habits in their children so that they can grow up with excellent oral health.
Children who are frequently exposed to sugary liquids like milk, breast milk, fruit juice, formula or sweet drinks are highly susceptible to early childhood caries
- Do not breastfeed for prolonged periods.
- Babies should never be put to sleep with a bottle of milk/Formula etc.
- If an infant falls asleep while feeding. make sure to clean the mouth by wiping the gums with a wet towel. This practice should be done after each feed and as well as in the mornings.
- Visit a pedodontist before the child’s first birthday.
- Start brushing the child’s teeth twice a day as soon as the first tooth appears.
- Put a pea size amount of fluoridated toothpaste for the child and assist/ supervise brushing twice daily and teach himìher to spit out the toothpaste and not swallow it.
- Teach the child healthy diet habits and try to curtail the consumption of sweets, starchy, sugary snacks and aerated drinks.
- Encourage children to learn drinking from a cup by their first birthday. A sippy cup can be used for the transition from the bottle but do not put any milk, formula or juice in the sippy cup through the day, as this will continuously bathe the teeth in sweet cavity-causing substances.
- Ask the dentist for pit and fissure sealants for the child as a preventive measure for young children.
- Fluoridated varnish is also a harmless preventive technique to protect teeth susceptible to cavities.
Tips To Fight Bad Breath
Bad breath can be embarrassing and 4\ tough not only for you but also for those around you, as well, Fortunately, this problem is often easy to fix and there are ways to counter it. Some of the various ways to combat bad breath include the following:
- Brush and floss after every meal to reduce plaque build up. Carry a travel toothbrush and toothpaste to work if you have to, so that you can make use of it soon after lunch. Residual food left in the mouth that doesn’t come out when brushing can easily be removed through flossing. Do so, after every meal.
- opt for a high fibre diet and reduce carbohydrates intake. Such a diet makes the body releases ketones.
- Do not eat garlic, onion or any strong odour food during the day or use a mouthwash after eating them. Also avoid tobacco and smoking.
- Bad breath is also caused by dehydration, so drink a lot of fluids throughout the day. Also, drink a lot of water, because it keeps your mouth clean.
- Chew on a gum or candy if you have a dry mouth to keep the flow of saliva going. The production of saliva removes the bacteria that causes bad breath.
- Get regular check-ups done every six months to know if you have tooth decay or gum problems, as both these ailments can lead to bad breath.
Bad breath is also caused by dehydration, so drink a lot of fluids and water throughout the day to keep your mouth clean