By Jennifer Dawson
Oral diseases are health burdens for many countries affecting people, causing pain, and even death with more than 530 million children suffering from dental caries and cavities of milk teeth. Tooth decay and cavities can affect the life of a child big time. They cause pain, sleepless nights, missed days at school, poor appetite, and loss of interest in doing things that they like such as playing or hanging out with friends. In addition, tooth decay can be a sign of a poor diet which, in turn, leads to obesity and other conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. On the bright side, poor oral health is highly preventable. Apart from clinical interventions such as regular visits to the dentist, there are also day to day ways to complement an oral health plan for children.
Detecting the Signs of Dental Issues
One of the first things to do in improving the oral health of kids is to be vigilant of the symptoms of caries and tooth decay caused by bacteria, among other things. Tooth decay can also be a result of food residues that contain sugars and starches left on the teeth. These may include milk, cereals, fruit juices, and bread, to name some. The combination of bacteria, saliva, food, and acid form plaque which sticks to the teeth of children.
Moreover, a bacterial infection can also result in periodontal diseases in children, destroying the gums and supporting structures. For example, gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums, affects both children and adults. It is caused by the build up of plaque on the teeth and gum. Hence, it is vital to recognize the onset of periodontal diseases in children. As the gum disease is not generally painful, parents may not know that something is wrong. However, spotting the physical signs of the disease such as red and swollen gums, bleeding while brushing, receding gums, loose teeth, bad breath, and pus in between the teeth and gums help in early intervention. For evaluation and care, it is best to see a dentist to make a diagnosis. The treatment may include regular or deep cleaning by a dental hygienist antibiotics, and surgery, if the disease is at an advanced stage.
Integrated Oral Health Plan
In addition to clinical evaluations, it is important as well that children benefit from an integrated oral health plan. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, the dentist or periodontist can perform tooth extraction or surgery to correct gum problems. They may also put a dental sealant to prevent plaque build-up or apply fluoride to strengthen and protect enamel. However, non-clinical interventions are key to the success of an oral health care plan. Health, social, and education workers must have adequate understanding of child dental health to offer advice and refer parents and guardians to local services available.
Schemes such as fluoride distribution programs in areas where fluoride is not present in the water systems, nutrition awareness and education specifically demonstrating the bad effects of sugar, and supervised toothbrushing projects in pre-schools can boost the dental health of children. Kids will also benefit enormously from the rigorous documentation and care of dentists and hygienists. Following up on treatments and preventive care will ensure good dental health. The bottom line is initiatives at the local level are effective in improving the oral health of kids. Moreover, integrating oral health in primary care services and implementing programs that work based on evidence indicate a good success rate.
Poor oral health among children is a problem causing negative repercussions. The good news is in addition to clinical solutions, there are also non-medical interventions that help reduce cavities, tooth decay, and improve overall dental health among kids.
About the Author: Jennifer Dawson is an experienced freelance writer with a particular interest in physical and mental health. She has previously worked in dental administration and when not working, she enjoys reading, traveling with her family and golf.
Posts and advice from doctors to patients