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Thread: Article: Toddler dental disgrace

  1. #1

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    Default Article: Toddler dental disgrace

    Wow. Can' believe this article! Poor kids!

    Toddler dental disgrace

    July 1, 2007

    THOUSANDS of Victorian preschoolers and toddlers ? some as young as two ? are undergoing radical dental surgery under general anaesthetic to remove several, and sometimes all, of their baby teeth.

    The oral health of Victoria's preschoolers is so poor that Dental Health Services Victoria says the average six-year-old starts school with three to four teeth decayed, missing or needing filling.

    While health authorities have poured money into campaigns targeting childhood obesity, what the dental service calls the "twin epidemic" of the alarming state of juvenile oral health has been largely overlooked.

    The dental service has joined calls for tighter government regulation of food labelling, after a survey of oral health literacy in Victorian primary schools ? released early to The Sunday Age ? found many parents were confused about which foods and drinks posed the greatest threat to their children's teeth.

    Hidden sugar in food and drink is the main culprit, oral health experts say, but confusing nutritional messages on packaging, misleading marketing and the use of bottled water over fluoridated tap water are adding to the crisis.

    Of the 11,607 children aged six and under treated at the Royal Dental Hospital in the 11 months to June, 770 had a general anaesthetic before undergoing complex dental surgery.

    Of those "a very significant proportion" had all their teeth pulled out, a spokeswoman said.

    These figures do not include the thousands of Victorian children who receive dental care under the private system, which does not collate dental figures.

    A recent Sunday Age investigation revealed the sugar content of many standard grocery items has increased over the years despite marketers' claims of health and nutrition benefits.

    "Consumers are being hoodwinked by misleading health claims," said Fiona Preston, the Dental Health Service's general manager of health promotion.



    Parents were bombarded with "99 per cent fat free" messages, leading them to buy products with higher sugar levels, not realising they can be equally fattening and bad for oral health.

    Ms Preston said the school survey showed parents knew that sweet food caused decay, but they did not know how to identify which foods had a high sugar content.

    "We are seeing increased rates of oral disease despite fluoride in the water and better education," she said. "We have 91 per cent of parents and guardians saying they know that fruit juice causes tooth decay but consumption is increasing."

    Dental health statistics reveal that 42 per cent of six-year-olds treated by the School Dental Service in 2006 had at least one tooth missing, a tooth requiring filling or one so badly decayed it had to be extracted.

    Among 12-year-olds the figure was even higher, with 58 per cent having at least one tooth that had to be filled or removed.

    Dental Health Services Victoria's clinical director Dr Hanny Calache said there had been a noticeable increase in pediatric dental caries in the past two to three years, and the main cause was the frequency and timing of sugar consumption, especially of sweetened drinks such as cordial, fruit juice and soft drinks.

    He also warned parents against giving toddlers bed-time bottles, even with plain milk, because the milk pools around the teeth and as the lactose ferments into sugar, it causes decay.

    Some health professionals and advocacy groups want state and federal health ministers to address root causes of obesity and poor dental health by banning advertising of food to children and overhauling labelling rules to highlight sugar content.
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    Is the moral of the story here not to give your kids anything other than water??

  2. #2

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    This is pretty scary. I have heard of one 4 year old that needed root canal (sp?) treatment because she went to bed drinking juice.

  3. #3

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    I only give my kids tap water, and then very occassionally they have a juice. I do think though that alot of the decay is caused by parents thinking they're doing the right thing by giving bottled water, not realising there's no flouride. Guess it's important for adults too, to drink tap water.
    Milk is fine for children too, just not in the cot!!
    I am suprised that common sense does not prevail in these situations. xoxo

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    I've always found it to be a contradiction in a way with the flouride in the water as Dh and his family grew up on tank water and have great teeth, and our children only have tank water too and as eyt have not dental issues. Naturally it is better to have access to flouridised water but it makes you wonder if some people are just more pre-disposed to tooth decay too - without all the additional food and drink we eat contributing to it.

    Anyway, I think it is a terrible state of affairs and when I worked as a dental nurse before I was married we saw a lot of kids come through with terrible teeth, but often their biggest issue was not brushing their teeth at all either. It is so hard these days to know what is the wrong and right thing to give our children - people assume juice is better than soft drink, but unless it is 100% juice with no added sugar etc, then it can have as much sugar as soft drink, and all those LCM bars and other snack foods are all so sweet too - they might be advertised as being healthy for our kids but you only have to taste one to know they aren't.

    I think that moderation is the key to any eating plan and parents have to become more vigilant in the bathroom making sure that their children are brushing their teeth properly too.

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    i've seen this many times as a dental nurse, it's very sad to see so many kids with widespread dental decay that require a GA. 'baby root canal' happen because in baby teeth the nerve is a lot closer to the top of the tooth, therefore decay doesnt need to get too deep beofre hitting the nerve. we had parent who think that fat free lollies mean sugar free!! thinking they are better for kids, not!! everything is about moderation and often the type of sugery treats kids have. your better off haveing a piece of chocolate that and chewy lollie and the the lolie often stays stuck to the surface of the tooth. we used to encourage kids to have say a peice of cheese after eating something sweet as is helps to neutalise the acid.
    there are tablets available from chmist called disclosing tablets which show up bright pink the areas that have plaque on them. a great teaching tool for kids to see where their brush has missed.
    but ultimatly the key is education, not just the kids but parents as well.

  6. #6

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    I think there is a genetic compontent to pre-disposition to tooth decay.

    But enviromental factors will play a larger part.

    I have never had a filling or any teeth work in my life, but all of my molars (so basically except for the bottom & top 6 or so), are still my baby teeth, (genetic, my mum has the same thing, born with only half of the second set.. freaky i know), so when i'm 40 or so the roots won't hold any longer and they will fall out, and i'll have to get inplants or something.

    But the teeth i have are all in great condition. My mum has filings though, don't think my dad has any.

    When should you take kids to the dentist to check their teeth are alright?

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    your righ yael, so of us have stronger enamal than others which is genetic.
    we would recommend from about the age of 2-3 bringing kids in with parents even if they just watched mum and dad have teeht checked and got familiar with the surgery and us, when their comfortable and ready we would do a fun visit in the chair which would include a ride inthe cahir showing air and water, the mirror etc and giving a showbag, then they came in 6 monthly til they were comfortable to get in the chair and have teeth checked, we never charged for fun visits only when we actually strted to look in the mouth. it's something you cant hurry or force.

  8. #8
    Matryoshka Guest

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    I was raised with an almost obsessive importance placed on teeth brushing to the point where i had to brush my teeth THREE times a day (this was mostly due to having braces etc) and i hated it growing up, i thought my mum was nuts. I also wasn't allowed to eat sweets. But looking back her obsesssion has really helped - i still brush my teeth 3 times a day and have NEVER not brushed 3 times a day in my entire life. I must admit i'm not good with going to the dentist - before last year i hadn't been in 13 years but the dentist said to me that for someone who hadn't been in so long i had immaculate teeth! i've only had one filling and that was due to a tooth which was cracked due to a silly tongue ring i got many years ago!

    I think the most important thing is starting good dental habits from a young age - we brush Lux's teeth twice a day and have done so since about 6 months old. He gets excited when the tooth brush comes out and while i do it at first to give a proper clean, he then gets given the brush and does it himself which hes proud of. By making it fun for him and him feeling a part of it, its something he enjoys. As he gets older we'll teach him why its important. The diet is also essential, he's never had anything with sugar in it, only natural fruits/veges, nothing processed, we'll be aiming to keep it that way for as long as possible.

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    Im a bit fanatical with teeth brushing too but I dont think we can ever be too lazy with it..its good to set up healthy hygiene practices for the kids so that it becomes second nature. My nephew has rotten teeth..all his front baby teeth were rotten when they came through, he has several teeth pulled..it was disgusting. I was so anoyed at my Sil and Bil for not taking the time and effort to make sure he brushed his teeth, especially with his diet...arrghh..made me even more compulsive i think!

    Jo

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    I took DS to a paediatric dentist in Melb. a while back, can't remember exactly when, because he was all his teeth bar his 2yo molars, and he sort of sucks on the tooth brush each day when we trry to clean his teeth, but not a lot of brushing gets done unless we force him. And I don't want to put him off and make it threatening or scary.

    Apparently his teeth are really good, but his mouth always smells so I'm still pretty paranoid about them. He doesn't really have a lot of suger, althought he does have sultanas a couple of times a week, which are not really good for teeth I've been told.

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    I read this article in the paper today... sadly not surprised

    Quote; "but ultimatly the key is education, not just the kids but parents as well". AJP

    I agree totally AJP, sometimes I wonder what the average person did instead of listening at school during science and health classes. Never ceases to amaze me how little the average person understands about health... and when something goes wrong it's "Duh, it's the government's/food industry's fault!!!" Pfft! and *Grrrrr* at this degree of ignorance and/or laziness. Poor kids!
    Last edited by Bathsheba; July 2nd, 2007 at 12:08 AM.

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    I think Matilda may have a rotten tooth. She's never had anything other than milk in a bottle & we've brushed her teeth everynight from the first tooth... only started having juice diluted from 2 yrs old. No lollies before then either. Rarely a biscuit... and yet I was brushing her teeth last night & she said one hurt & it looks like a black spot in the middle of the molar...

    Sadly there is no flouride in our water here, and heaps of education... and I've done all the right things except for the first 2 years where she went to sleep with a bottle of milk at night. As soon as it was finished I took it away, but I didn't brush her teeth afterwards for ages....

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    Oh no Christy! I think my previous post was a bit harsh... sorry darl... it was late and I wasn't thinking straight... I was actually thinking of close relatives of ours who allow their children to drink coke like it was water and wonder why they have to spend hundreds at the dentist... they just don't see the corrolation between diet and health and I allow it to frustrate me

    Obviously your situation is different Christy... have you been to the dentist yet? I meant to say also that i agree that thin enamel is genetic. My Dh's family have 'weak' teeth so I'm going to have to keep an eye on my children's teeth extra closely too.

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    nah its okay I didn't think anyone said anything too harsh at all. I do agree with the genetics thing, but I didn't have any cavities until I was pregnant with Matilda!!! DH however, has a mouthfull of fillings... so we can blame his side

    When I was pregnant the hospital had a huge campaign for dental health of babies and DH & I used to laugh about people putting coke into bottles, then one day I saw it and couldn't believe it. My neighbour even suggested we add chocolate milk to her bottle for something a bit different

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    dont be hard on your self christy it does 'just happen' , you've adopted great routine now and most importantly for the future, definatly get it seen to but be prepared for it to possible done under gas or GA at matildas age if it is a cavity. have you looked into fluride tablets for your drinking water??? can matilda spit out the paste yet???

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    We've been using a paste for the past 6 months... most of the time it gets spit out LOL... we only use the paste at night & nothing in the mornings. I think I will make an appt with the "Tooth Fairy". Its a special dental place for diagnosing. Its set up as a fairy castle & the dental staff are all dressed up as fairies. Even just to introduce Matilda to the idea. She hates sitting still so I have dreaded the thought but I think she will like this place

  17. #17
    Matryoshka Guest

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    There is also a link between tooth decay and babies born by c/s, the study is on the colgate website. I came accross this via a friend who's son was born by c/s and despite being on an only raw food diet and breast milk and having brushed teeth from day dot he has tooth decay at at 3. In looking for support she came accross this link and found other mums who'd had c/s found the same with their children.... anyway very interesting.

    But as someone else mentioned sometimes "bad" teeth just run in the family and you can be prone to tooth decay.

    Christy, that place sounds lovely, is that an actual dentist? a child dentist?

  18. #18

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    just asking for advice gus a couple of days ago took my 14 month old dd to early childhood clinic for advice as lately ive noticed her top middle teeth have a yellow colour to them she said it was a built up of plague .everynight in the bath i clean her teeth or try to she doesnt have sugar in her diet only a couple of biscuits.she eats pretty good im worried that im not cleaning her teeth proberly or is it because i have really bad teeth.

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