Though many children have a higher metabolic rate than adults, all mouths work in the same way. Just because children may digest food quicker, that does not eliminate the damage leftover food on the teeth and gums can have on oral hygiene.
For Dr. Manal Al Halabi, programme director, Paediatric Dentistry at Hamdan Bin Mohammed College of Dental Medicine at MBRU, said parents must not neglect primary teeth, because any infection in the roots creates an unhealthy environment for permanent teeth.
“The early loss of primary teeth causes abnormalities in permanent teeth. Healthy baby teeth will help support normal growth and development for our children.” But the complications can also go far beyond just bad oral health, she said.
“Extensive tooth decay might lead to severe infections that can be life-threatening for the child. Research has shown that the best predictor of acquiring caries in adult teeth is having caries in baby teeth.”
So prevention is of paramount importance, she said.
A healthy diet for your child is a balanced diet that contains all the “natural ingredients” to help them grow. Any disturbance will result in disturbances in tooth development, as well as the health of the gums. And one of the biggest culprits of bad oral health is excessive intake of sugary foods.
“This will undoubtedly lead to dental caries,” she said.
The frequency and the timing of intake of foods containing sugar and starch is also very important. “Try to limit the amount that your child receives daily and try to introduce such foods within meals and not as snacks.”
Foods that have a higher cavity causing potential should be avoided when possible too, such as sticky foods like dried fruits and toffee. This is because they are not easily cleaned from the teeth by saliva, water or milk, and they tend to fester on the teeth which, after time, will result in cavities.
For parents with small children, Dr. Al Halabi said it is imperative that parents avoid nursing their baby or toddler to sleep with a bottle containing milk, formula or juice.
In her clinic, Dr. Al Halabi treats children with different dental problems ranging from the very common chronic childhood disease of dental caries or tooth decay to traumatic dental injuries in children. “The range of treatment extends from treating the children in the clinic to using nitrous oxide inhalation sedation or ‘laughing gas’.”
The clinic also takes care of the dental needs of children which special needs, too.
Dental phobia or dental anxiety is quite common around the world, in both adults and children. But nowadays, with the dawn of modern technology, most dental procedures aren’t painful. – Kelly Clarke