Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Take Care Of Children's Teeth

We are not taking care of our children's teeth, and it is hurting them in school and later in life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, tooth decay is among the most common chronic conditions of childhood. One in 5 children, aged five to 11, and 1 in 7 children, aged 12 to 19, have at least one untreated cavity.
These numbers are higher for children from minority and low-income families. African-American and Hispanic children are more likely than white children to have cavities in their primary (baby) teeth and are twice as likely as white children to have untreated cavities. The disparity in untreated cavities continues into the teen years.
A report by the Pew Charitable Trusts states that untreated tooth decay "can cause pain and infection that may lead to difficulty eating, speaking, socializing and sleeping, as well as poor overall health." Tooth decay can also contribute to low self-esteem and dental health problems.
Dental problems can also adversely affect both school attendance and performance. A report issued by the U.S. Surgeon General in 2000, estimated that more than 51 million school hours were lost annually due to dental-related illnesses. More recent studies confirm these earlier findings. A 2011 study of school children in North Carolina published in the American Journal of Public Health found that "children with poor oral health status were nearly 3 times more likely ... than were their counterparts to miss school as a result of dental pain."
School absences due to dental pain affect learning. A 2012 study by the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California found that "children who reported having recent tooth pain were four times more likely to have a low grade point average – below the median GPA of 2.8 – when compared to children without oral pain." This affects academic achievement, employment opportunities and earning potential.
Poor dental health is also driving up costs to American taxpayers. The American Dental Association reports that overall spending on dental care increased from $50 billion in 1990 to $113 billion in 2014. And during this same period the share of total U.S. dental care funded by public sources soared from 2 percent to 11 percent. One major contributor to this increase has been more children getting dental care from Medicaid and through the Children's Health Insurance Program.
Childhood tooth decay and gum disease can lead to serious health problems in adults. According to the American Dental Association, there are "more than 125 health conditions that may affect or be affected by oral health, including cardiovascular disease, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, obesity, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis." And the association reports that people who have tooth decay as children are more likely to have tooth decay as adults.
The main culprits that lead to tooth decay are sugar and starches, which are complex sugars. But they are not the direct cause. Decay is caused by the bacteria in everyone's mouth that feast on the sugars, producing acids which erode the enamel of teeth.
What can we do about it?
The best advice is what your parents probably told you: Limit the sweets, and brush your teeth. The more sugar a child eats, the more acid is created to eat away at teeth. But it is a tough challenge. Sugars and starches are in a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products, bread, candy, cookies and soda. Processed foods contain added sugars, too.
The most obvious way to prevent tooth decay is to have children brush their teeth at least twice a day. And it is important to use toothpaste that contains fluoride to help strengthen tooth enamel.

By: Jonathan Fielding, U.S News

If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Omni Dental Group at one of our three office locations listed below:

North Austin on Hymeadow Drive: (512) 250-5012
Central Austin on Jollyville Road: (512) 346-8424
South Austin on William Cannon: (512) 445-5811


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