Moranbah & Nebo
Marian Mackay

The importance of good dental care on a child’s development

The importance of good dental care on a child’s development

Tooth decay is the most common chronic illness in children and can have a profound impact on a child's health and quality of life. Tooth decay has a significant impact on a child's health and wellbeing. Like other bacterial infections, tooth decay can worsen if left untreated. Children can be affected by:

  • pain and discomfort
  • difficulty sleeping
  • difficulties chewing; affecting growth and development
  • poor self-esteem and social isolation
  • speech development problems
  • higher risk of new decay in other baby teeth
  • damage to developing permanent teeth

Advice is given below to assist parents in fostering good dental hygiene habits:

0 to 12 months

  • Do not put a baby to sleep with a bottle. Pooling of milk (containing lactose) around the teeth overnight can lead to decay.
  • Start cleaning teeth as soon as they appear. Use small soft toothbrush with water (no toothpaste).
  • From 6 months, introduce drinking from a cup.

12 to 18 months

  • Brush child's teeth with water twice a day (no toothpaste)
  • After 12 months children should be drinking from a cup.

18 months to 5 years

  • At 18 months start using a pea sized smear of low fluoride toothpaste,
  • Assist child brush their teeth twice a day until they are eight years old.
  • Water and milk are the best drinks. (Low fat milk can be given to children 2 years and over.)
  • By 2 years of age a child should have an oral health check, this can be done by the maternal and child health nurse, family GP or dentist.

For all children

  • Fruit juice and fruit drinks are not recommended for infants under 12 months.
  • Give fresh fruit instead of fruit juice. Chewing stimulates saliva which protects teeth against decay.
  • Water and milk are the best drinks.( Full cream milk for children under 2 years of age; Low fat milk can be given to children 2 years and over)
  • Limit sugary drinks including: soft drinks, fruit juice, sports drinks, vitamin waters, cordials, fruit drinks and energy drinks between meals.
  • Limit processed foods and foods high in sugar to reduce the risk of tooth decay and obesity.

Quick facts:

11% of children under 3 years have experienced dental caries1.
47% of school entry aged children have decay2.
Dental caries is the third most common reason for preventable hospital admissions in children under 5 years3.
43% of children aged between two and eight years of age brush their teeth less than twice a day4.
Children at risk of being overweight can have higher caries experience than their normal weight peers5.
71% of children aged between one and five years have never had a dental visit6.

For more information on children's dentistry, please do not hesitate to contact DentalCareXtra. Alternatively, complete the form below, and one of our friendly team members will contact you.

References

1. Jones K and Tomar S. Estimated impact of competing policy recommendations for age of first dental visit. Pediatrics 2005; 115:906-914.
2. Department of Human Services 2007 Victorian Child Health and Wellbeing Survey Technical Report, 2006. Statewide Outcomes for Children Branch, Office for Children, Department of Human Services, Victorian Government, Melbourne.
3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Research Report 53: Dental decay among Australian children 2011, Australian Government.
4. Department of Human Services 2007 Victorian Child Health and Wellbeing Survey Technical Report, 2006. Statewide Outcomes for Children Branch, Office for Children, Department of Human Services, Victorian Government, Melbourne.
5. Hong L, Ahmed A, McCunniff M et al (2008) Obesity and Dental Caries in Children Aged 2-6 Years in the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2002. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 68, Issue 4, 227–233.
6. Department of Human Services 2007 Victorian Child Health and Wellbeing Survey Technical Report, 2006. Statewide Outcomes for Children Branch, Office for Children, Department of Human Services, Victorian Government, Melbourne.

Source: https://www.dhsv.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/43672/GP-fact-sheet_OH-_early-childhood-_FINAL-2015-04-27.pdf

~ your smile oasis