Dentists in several countries claim that parents are letting their children down by neglecting their oral health, dentists in Brisbane, Australia, say that children as young as 4 years old are undergoing surgery to remove decayed teeth and in some cases, urgent antibiotic treatment is required to save children’s lives.
In Ipswich, a woman was jailed for child neglect after her 9 year old daughter needed emergency surgery to extract 12 teeth.
Studies show that some parents fail to supervise their children brushing their teeth, while many underestimate the important of good oral hygiene because the milk teeth are not permanent. Unfortunately, premature loss of the milk teeth can cause problems for the adult teeth, as they are forced to erupt earlier than expected.
Implications of neglecting children’s oral health
Oral health is important for everyone, from tiny babies to senior citizens and dentists advise parents to start tending to their child’s oral health before they even develop their first teeth. Parents are encouraged to use a soft cloth or brush to clean the gums and then start regular brushing once the teeth have started to erupt.
The implications of neglecting children’s oral health are far-reaching, children who have poor oral hygiene and a poor diet are likely to suffer from decay, which contributes to premature tooth loss, and gum disease and abscesses, which can be painful.
If the adult teeth appear earlier than normal, this can cause problems; the teeth may not develop fully and there is a higher risk that they too will be lost prematurely.
Decay and gum disease are causes of tooth loss, pain and discomfort and they also contribute to societal and psychological problems. Children who have poor oral health are likely to miss valuable classroom hours and their performance at school may be affected.
Children with dental problems may also be bullied because of the way their teeth look or because they have lost teeth and children may suffer from a lack of confidence and self-esteem as a result of their oral health status.
In order to combat children’s dental health problems, dentists advise parents to start a good daily oral hygiene routine from a very early age and take their child for regular dental visits from the age of 12 months old.
Regular check-ups allow children to get used to going to the dentist and they also prevent decay and cavities and allow children to learn about the importance of good oral hygiene and healthy eating.
Diet is also a very important factor, one of the main reasons rates of decay are so high among children is a sugary diet. Dentists encourage parents to keep an eye on the amount of sugary foods and drinks their children consume and to talk to their children about the effect eating sugar has on the teeth.
Author Biography; Kevin is an experienced writer and is an expert in child dentistry. He wrote this article for British Dentistry who offers support and advice about a range of dental treatments.