The newsLINK Group - Tooth Decay in Preschoolers

Editorial Library Category: General Business | Dental | Pediatric Dentistry Topics: Preschooler Oral Hygiene Title: Tooth Decay in Preschoolers Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Adult Americans have been doing a better job of taking care of their teeth, but the same can’t be said for their children. An increasing number of children – including preschoolers – have a severe problem with tooth decay, sometimes even when they are as young as two and a half. Editorial: Tooth Decay in Preschoolers 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 The Problem Adult Americans have been doing a better job of taking care of their teeth, but the same can’t be said for their children. An increasing number of children — including preschoolers — have a severe problem with tooth decay, sometimes even when they are as young as two and a half. Cavities might be common in children, but getting cavities is something that can cause chronic pain if a dentist doesn’t take care of them soon enough. Not only that, but cavities are linked to slow weight gain, can encourage additional tooth decay, can cause permanent teeth to be misaligned, and can lead to infections. If an abscess develops and isn’t treated, the resulting infection can even kill. Interestingly enough, though, cavities are not inevitable. They are a behavioral disease, and it is entirely possible to prevent them. The Culprits Researchers have recently identified the underlying cause for pediatric tooth decay: streptococci mutans, which is a group of infectious bacteria. The bacteria leach out calcium and phosphate, which protect the teeth, from the tooth enamel and dentin. Enamel is on the outer surface of the tooth, and dentin is the hard tissue between the enamel and the tooth’s pulp and roots. When a child eats frequent servings of sugar and carbohydrate-rich food or drink, it creates a favorable growing environment for the bacteria. That wouldn’t be a big problem if the child then followed up the meal by brushing and flossing, but small children in particular are just learning how to take care of their teeth. If adults don’t help them clean their teeth, it just isn’t going to happen. How do the bacteria get into the mouth of the child in the first place? It doesn’t just spontaneously grow; it has to be transferred through the mother’s saliva or the saliva of a caregiver, and the transfer usually happens sometime after the first tooth erupts, which could be around six months of age. If you’ve never dealt with small children, transferring bacteria through saliva might seem unlikely, but it can happen more easily than you might think: suppose the mother and child share a spoon, for example, or the mother kisses the child on top of the head, the child touches the spot that was kissed, and then transfers the bacteria accidentally from hand to mouth. Once transferred, the bacteria can grow into a colony, and the colony can last a lifetime. Sources: “Pediatric Tooth Decay: Protect Your Child’s Oral and General Health,” by Linda Dyett, article sent to me by Sophie. Word Count: 403 Copyscape Clear Date: 12.15.2014

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