Monday, April 14, 2008

Tooth decay in kids

Tooth decay is the breakdown of the outer enamel layer causing a cavity (hole) to form. In severe cases the hole may enlarge or deepen until it reaches the inner core of the tooth causing damage to the pulp damaging the nerves.

Most of us know that decay is caused by bacteria thriving on sugary stuff left on the tooth after eating sweet food. Kids nowadays consume sugary food in many forms. Other than chocolates and candies, many other food like chilly sauce, tomato sauce and the like has sugar as well.

Frequent sugar consumption combined with long periods of leaving the food debris in the mouth is a wonderful situation for “bacteria invasion”. So the solution? Brush regularly!

Being children, it is difficult to completely stop them from consuming sweet stuff. What can parents do to help? First, bring them for checkups at least once every 6 months. This is the very first step towards kids understanding importance of dental care and removing their fear of seeing a dentist.

Secondly, keep up the discipline of brushing at least twice a day. Never ignore brushing before going to bed!

Thirdly, for those who wish to the extra mile, you may also want to consider fissure sealant treatment for permanent teeth. This is not wise spending for milk teeth as they are non-permanent. But as kids begin to have their permanent teeth, it is best to provide protection to avoid early loss of tooth.

You may view this pdf file on fissure sealant (courtesy of the Health Ministry of New Zealand):

Some reference on fissure sealant may be found on the British Dental Health Foundation site:

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