One in two first-year pupils has tooth decay. The Chamber of Dentists has been calling for the inclusion of a dental examination in the mother-child passport for some time now, but also appeals to parents to keep an eye on their children’s oral hygiene at all times.
Caries is the most common chronic disease in early childhood; it occurs five times more frequently than asthma and seven times more frequently than hay fever. In Austria, one in two children starting school is already infected with the bacterial pathogen, and such an infection would be absolutely avoidable.
Parents in duty
A healthy diet and regular tooth cleaning are the cornerstones of keeping your teeth healthy. However, these comparatively simple measures are not always observed by parents. Wolfgang Kopp, Vice President of the Austrian Dental Association, emphasises that parents in particular are called upon to fulfil their role in care and health education.
Many parents are still mistaken that oral hygiene of the milk teeth is not so important, as they fall out anyway and are later replaced by the permanent teeth. But exactly the opposite is the case: The milk teeth are placeholders for the following teeth. If they are lost prematurely, the row of teeth moves and there is no space left for the second teeth. Correct jaw growth is disturbed as a result. Aesthetic problems, but also problems with learning to speak are often the result.
Sugar promotes the formation of caries
Children who get many sweetened drinks from the bottle are particularly at risk of developing caries: When sucking, the incisors are permanently washed with the liquid containing sugar, and the saliva – which normally hardens the enamel – can no longer do its job. Caries bacteria benefit from sweetened drinks: they feed on sugar and produce lactic acid, which subsequently damages the enamel.
Goals of the WHO
The German Dental Association has been demanding the inclusion of a dental examination in the mother-child passport for some time now. Free prophylaxis for children from the age of 10 has already been achieved.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has set itself the goal of achieving caries-free conditions for 80% of all children by 2020. Katrin Bekes, Head of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University Dental Clinic Vienna, remains sceptical: “We will not be able to achieve this goal. The European average for caries-free six- to seven-year-olds is currently 55%. Austria is neither better nor worse”.
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Updated on: 24.08.2018 | 10:29
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