Thursday, December 8, 2022

Most Common Dental Problems for Children.

March 20, 2021 by  
Filed under Education, Health, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( Dental or oral health is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most neglected. People mistakenly believe that merely brushing your teeth will resolve dental health problems. However, that is not the case. There is a responsibility for each of us to look beyond mere brushing as issues like cavities, sensitivity, and gum disease cannot be resolved through by mere brushing of teeth.

Most of the problems start way back in our childhood. As young people, we often are unable to understand what is wrong until it is too late. Even parents are to be partly blamed for it. For whatever reasons, parents often neglect the dental hygiene of their kids. This can cause problems for them as they grow up. Before discussing what we can do to prevent children’s dental problems, let us talk about a few facts.

A Few Stats About Children Dental Hygiene in the US

  • About 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5 to 11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth (Dye, Li, & Beltran-Aguilar, 2012).
  • 1 of 7 (13%) adolescents aged 12 to 19 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth (Dye, Li, & Beltran-Aguilar, 2012).
  • Children aged 5 to 19 years from low-income families are twice as likely (25%) to have cavities compared with children from higher-income households (11%) (Dye, Li, & Beltran-Aguilar, 2012).
  • Percent of children aged 5-19 years with untreated dental cavities: 13.2% (2015-2018) (CDC, 2021).

Now, let’s discuss the reasons that make dental hygiene important.

dental health for black kids

Why is Dental Hygiene Important?

  • Oral health is long-lasting. Bad oral health does not go away as you age. Instead, it gets worse.
  • If you do not take care of your teeth, you will have to face:
    • Extreme Pain
    • Discomfort
    • Disfigurement
  • Another drawback of bad dental hygiene is yellow teeth which can ruin one’s personality.
  • You can suffer from periodontal (gum) disease.
  • Gum disease is not only extremely painful but can cause you to lose your teeth permanently.
  • Tooth loss leads to:

You might be thinking that you can get a dental implant. Think again.

  • Dental treatments are quite expensive.
    • A single dental implant costs anywhere between $3000 to $5000. Due to bad dental hygiene, the chances of getting a single dental implant are quite low. On the other hand, the chances of getting multiple implants are significantly higher. Imagine all that money spent on implants which you can save easily through good hygiene. Instead, you can save that money to buy a car, pay for your house mortgage, or visit your favorite places around the world.
  • Bad dental health can lead to several types of oral cancers.

There is one drawback of poor health that most people tend to overlook. It is explained below.

Oral Health and Learning

Parents and teachers do not realize that oral health and learning go hand in hand when it comes to children. Very young children are unable to verbalize their oral pain. They might exhibit anxiety, restlessness, inability to concentrate, and fatigue because of it. These conditions prevent children from focusing on their studies, leading to poor academic performance. Similarly, untreated dental problems can cause difficulty while speaking. It can cause children to develop speaking problems. Broken, disorderly, or yellow teeth can harm a child’s self-esteem, leading to depression and other mental health conditions. Resultantly, the child will find it challenging to concentrate on studies.

What Can You Do?

Children spend a considerable amount of time in school. Therefore, you have a responsibility to impart education related to dental health. You must raise the following points:

  • Make sure that they brush their teeth at least 2 times a day for at least 2 minutes.
  • Advocate for the use of toothpaste that has fluoride in it. There is ample evidence to suggest that fluoride-based toothpaste effectively improves dental hygiene among children and adults (Wright et al., 2014; NHS, 2017).
  • Drink water that contains fluoride. In most areas, fluoride is present naturally. In others, the water company adds it to the water supply. Hence, it would be best if you drank a lot of water. Otherwise, tooth decay will start to set in.
  • Cut back on sugary drinks and food. If children have too much soda, soft drinks, or even chocolate, their teeth might start to decay sooner. Tell the children, “We know that it is difficult to skip out on your favorite snacks but do it for the sake of your health. Remember, there is no greater blessing than good health”.
  • Opt for a balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Do not make excuses to skip your dentist appointment. A common problem among young kids is that they fear dentists. Make them understand that there is nothing scary about dentists. They are there to make sure that you face no problems in life.
  • Floss their teeth at least once a day.
  • Their teeth might start to turn yellow.
    • Trust me when I say no one likes yellow teeth! Several studies confirm that people first notice the other person’s physical appearance. When it comes to physical appearance, they notice the teeth first. Therefore, having white and properly aligned teeth is a must-have if you wish to make a good first impression (Invisalign, 2012).

The parents also have a significant role to play when it comes to dental health. As school personnel, you are in a position where you can communicate with the parents directly. Make the best use of it.

What Role Can Parents Play?

  • Buy fluoride-based toothpaste.
  • Confirm with the water company if they add fluoride to the water.
  • Set up an appointment with the dentist for their kids. The appointment’s purpose is to undertake a comprehensive check-up to make sure that your teeth and gums are in perfect order.
  • Cook food that includes vegetables.
  • Take their children to a dental practice that offers a fun, relaxed environment and experienced in handling young children.

Wrap Up

If you wish to lead a healthier, longer life, pay attention to your dental health. If you feel there’s anything wrong, seek a dental appointment right away. Remember, most dental problems are easily preventable and curable. The only prerequisite is that you must act right away. Unnecessary delays can lead to expensive treatments. Finally, if you are a parent, please consider what you have learned here with a view to preventative measures for your children.

Staff Writer; Stanley G. Buford

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