Dental surgery is becoming one of the top reasons for hospital admissions amongst preschoolers and early primary school children. For several years now, tooth decay has been a growing reason for small children undergoing general anaesthetics, and is reportedly now at “crisis level“. When we think childhood hospitalisation, it’s not generally tooth decay that comes to mind. Broken bones, asthma, or grommets perhaps. But teeth? In recent years, the prevalence of tooth decay has seen a sharp increase in the number of pre-school aged children going under general anaesthetic. So what’s behind this worrying trend?
What is behind the increase in tooth decay?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make a connection between the growing rates of children partaking in sugary sweets and drinks with this soar in the rates of tooth decay. Whilst some of the cases involved are the result of genetic tooth issues, the vast majority of these cases are completely preventable. It all comes down to parent knowledge and monitoring both what their children are eating and how well they’re brushing their teeth.
How can parents prevent tooth decay?
A strong understanding of, and respect for, dental hygiene starts in the home.
Here are some things that you can do as a parent to ensure that tooth decay is not an unwelcome visitor in your home.
- Educate your children about the importance of regular brushing and flossing.
- Supervise, guide and assist in every brushing session until you can be assured that your child can do the job by themselves.
- Cut down (or completely avoid) the consumption of sugary snacks and drinks in the home.
- Book regular appointments with a gentle pediatric dentist to avoid the ‘dental terrors’ that are so often associated with treatment. Regular check-ups will help you avoid being surprised by tooth decay and help put preventative measures in place before your child is on the surgery table.
Tooth decay in young children
The removal of teeth, placing of crowns and drilling of fillings is a relatively new phenomenon in children of this young age and it’s on the rise. It’s up to parents, in association with a kind, gentle dentist whom they can trust, to stop this trend in its tracks and ensure this next generation is able to put their best smiles forward.
Thanks to Brisbane dentist Robert Duhig Dental for contributing this post.