It is rather sad to see these images and watch the extent to whcih some parents ignorance has such adverse effects on their children. Tooth decay is an important health issue that parents should not joke with and thus must ensure proper tooth hygiene for our children.Children as young as 18 months are undergoing major dental operations to have their rotting teeth removed, with some suffering from such severe decay that all of their baby teeth need to be pulled out.
Sophie Beaumont, a dental surgeon from The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne, said more than 1,000 children in the Australian state of Victoria were put under general anaesthetic last year to have multiple decayed teeth removed.
‘It is certainly not uncommon to do multiple extractions on young children, often if there is one tooth with severe decay then there will be others that are just as bad,’ she said.
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth that erodes the surface of the tooth, causing significant damage to its structure (pictured is a child under 10 years old)
Dr Beaumont said many parents would not even realise the severity of the issue until their child was in so much pain they had trouble eating, sleeping or speaking.
‘Children will often present at the clinic after their parents have been kept awake all night because their child can’t sleep through the pain,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘This results in a very negative first experience at the dentist.’
But it is not just Australian children feeling the ache.
In New Zealand, Nelson Marlborough District Health’s principal dental officer Dr Rob Beaglehole said he and other dentists would treat children younger than 18 months for tooth decay.
‘It’s not uncommon to be taking out rotten teeth from a child still in nappies,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Last year there were 5,000 kids under seven who had a general anaesthetic to take out rotten teeth.’
Dr Beaglehole said the main cause of this problem was sugary drinks and high sugar diets – both in New Zealand and Australia.
Dr Beaumont recommends checking your child’s mouth for signs of decay which often start out as small white spots on the tooth, and can progress to be yellow or brown in colour .
‘We’re getting a lot of kids who are having Pepsi and Coca-Cola being put in their baby bottles,’ he said.
‘[Drink manufacturers are] actively marketing to young kids. We have a major problem in New Zealand where [national rugby union team] the All Blacks are sponsored by Coca-Cola and Powerade.
‘[Kids] might even bring in bottles of Powerade with them [to appointments] and I ask them: “Why do you drink?” that and they say: “Because the All Blacks do”. This is a five-year-old kid saying that.’
Many of the children who present with severe tooth decay at The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne will require multiple courses of antibiotics – sometimes administered intravenously in hospital – which Dr Beaumont said was ‘quite a traumatic experience’.
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth that erodes the surface of the tooth, causing significant damage to its structure.
The bacteria in your mouth feeds of the sugar you eat which then creates an acid that causes a break down of the tooth,’ Dr Beaumont said.
If you do not regularly brush to remove the bacteria or the acid created by the bacteria, you are at a much higher risk of developing tooth decay.
This child’s teeth have been work away by drinking Coca-Cola on a regular basis
‘Diet is a very big problem, especially with parents who give their children dummies covered in honey, or bottles with sweetened drinks,’ Dr Beaumont said.
‘A lot of parents do not consider that fruit juice, cordial, fizzy drinks and even sugar-free drinks have a negative impact on teeth, especially without good oral hygiene.’
The dentist recommends limiting your sugar intake, especially in between meal times when sugar is normally absent from the mouth.
‘The biggest problems occur when there is a constant intake of sugar because the saliva doesn’t have a chance to wash it away,’ Dr Beaumont told Daily Mail Australia.
Paediatric dentist Dr Timothy Johnston warns that in most states treatment of teeth remains the most common reason to use general anaesthesia on children.
He said that, while it was important to monitor how a child’s diet could affect their oral health, regular brushing was still the best way to combat tooth decay.
‘The biggest risk factor is not sugar. Tooth decay is a bacterial disease and I don’t see this stressed enough,’ Dr Johnston said
‘You can’t get tooth decay if you have clean teeth.’
To avoid decay, Dr Beaumont said parents need to ensure children are brushing regularly using a brush with soft bristles and only a small amount of toothpaste.
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