There have always been certain dental concerns surrounding children, primarily because they are totally reliant at such a young age on their parents to ensure their teeth are brushed properly, regularly and that they are eating correctly. But as dental procedures have improved and people are becoming more educated about the dangers of certain foods and lifestyle changes that impact dental health, surely our children’s oral health should be in safer hands now than ever before?
Unfortunately, that’s simply not the case. Although many of us understand the dangers of sugar laden foods and drink, that’ just not enough to stop deterioration at such a young age. In fact there is currently a condition causing children’s teeth to literally crumble.
MIH (Molar Incisor Hypomineralisation)
MIH affects around 1 in 10 children and results in the disintegration of children’s molars. Usually, the main issue, which is quite prevalent at the moment is rotten teeth being removed, due to poor diet and lack of education on what is good and bad for children’s oral health. MIH (Molar Incisor Hypomineralisation) however, is a very real concern for dentists, especially as it has no cure because the industry can’t explain exactly what causes this condition.
MIH affects the first adult molars of a child, around the age of six. Where the condition sets in, the enamel is soft and thinner than it should be, making it more at risk of decay. The molar will crumble shortly after growing, in extreme cases. Discolouration is likely and the most common result in most cases but we just don’t know what causes MIH. Affecting 1 in 10 children doesn’t sound a lot, but the fact that it’s unknown whether the condition is a result of poor health and diet or genetic factors, makes this a worrying scenario which could be more prominent in the future.
Molars that form at birth harden over the initial years but clearly something goes wrong during development, or other environmental factors affect the condition of the tooth. Obviously, diet does play a huge part in the life and condition of teeth and dentists strongly advise against bad habits such as milk bottles and juice drinks at or before bedtime. Many parents leave bottles for the child to drink at night but these abrasive acidic drinks gradually work away at the enamel, during the growth stage and this can only lead to problems in the long run.
MIH may not be diet-related, but it’s certainly a wake up call for many, showing that in the cases where the condition is present, little can be done to prevent the negative results but that makes it only that much more crucial that we ensure the rest of our children follow dental advice to improve their oral health for the future.
So what are the core issues affecting children’s teeth today?
Lack of Education
Poor knowledge is a contributing factor towards many dental problems, not just with children but also with parents too. It’s important to understand the benefits and downsides to certain food types and drinks. This will undoubtedly help change toward a more positive diet and reduce not only sugar-based food and drink but also maintain a strategy of when to eat and drink certain foods and what is appropriate.
Knowing how to Brush
It’s just as important to know about how to brush and parents are responsible for teaching their children. Making it a fun exercise in the morning and before bed can ingrain the sense of importance to children that they must brush correctly. This will help toward maintaining a strong healthy mouth and clear a portion of the debris left by food as well as increase oral hygiene.
Overcoming the Negative View of the Dentist
Adults often have an aversion to the dentist but this is usually because it stems from something in their childhood. It’s important that as parents you encourage a sense of responsibility in terms of visiting the dentist, so that it isn’t something to be feared. In most cases, regular visits to the dentist result in catching problems early and helping to maintain health for the future.
Recognising Early Signs
As mentioned, regular visits to the dentist can help prevent further problems and resolve current issues quicker and more comfortably. Leaving dental problems until it’s too late can result in not only pain and discomfort but also promote future problems. It’s crucial that everyone, including children can identify the early signs of tooth decay and gum disease. This education is vital for protecting our children’s teeth in the future.