VACCINE for Tooth Decay in Children
As per the National Oral Health Survey and Fluoride Mapping 2002-03, approximately 50% of children aged 5 years and 80% of middle age people in India suffer from tooth decay. Children often require complicated treatments at times even under general anesthesia for their dental conditions.
Often, the dental care for a child is started at an advanced stage of a dental problem. This is mainly due to either lack of information on preventive care or absence of a painful condition (yes, many of us visit dentist only when we start suffering from pain)!
- Ask your doctor for preventive measures like fluoride varnish, saliva modifiers, etc. Fluoride varnish can be applied on the teeth soon after they erupt. Regular applications of varnish can prevent tooth decay up to 75%!
- Care for your teeth! Science has proved that tooth decay in children results due to transmission of bacteria causing tooth decay to infants from mothers and caretakers with high decay status (untreated cavities)! If parents, siblings and caretakers have good oral hygiene and healthy teeth, children can benefit from it!
- Count the number of sugar exposures to your child. The more is the frequency of sugar/starch containing items like candies, cookies, ice creams, wafers, chips, soft drinks, etc., more likely is tooth decay in children. Offer a healthy balanced diet to your child.
- Implement oral hygiene measures for the child as early as you can; like
Offer water after feeding.
b. Clean child's teeth &/or gum pads with a clean wet handkerchief after feeding.
c. Brush teeth (even a single tooth) twice a day.
- Never bottle feed children! Avoid prolong on-demand' breast feeding beyond weaning age, too. Encourage drinking milk from cup as children reach their first birthday. Milk remnants pool around teeth during sleep to initiate tooth decay. Offer solid foods before sleep so as to reduce nocturnal feeds.
- Educate yourself and educate others. As there exists no real vaccine to prevent tooth decay, increase your awareness and spread it to others to see a 'Decay- Free Generation'!
Visit your dentist regularly. A child’s first visit to dentist should be within 6 months of eruption of first tooth and no later than the child’s first birthday.