Aligarh: "There is another pandemic in the making, but this one can be prevented. A recently conducted independent survey indicates that around 65 per cent of children in India are affected with caries," said Prof Divya Sanjay Sharma, Chairperson, Department of Paediatrics and Preventive Dentistry, Dr Z A Dental College, Aligarh Muslim University.
She was speaking to the parents of children suffering from caries in a special interactive session.
"If you suspect that your child has a cavity, make an appointment with a paediatric dentist. They can examine your child's teeth for signs of decay and then recommend treatment based on the extent of tooth decay," asserted Prof Divya.
Explaining the treatment procedure, she told the parents of toddlers that dental filling is common for infants and children who have one or more cavities. Fillings can take place on permanent teeth, as well as on baby teeth.
"During the procedure, the dentist removes the tooth decay and then fills the hole with a white composite or metal material. Filling a cavity that forms on a baby tooth can save or preserve the tooth," Prof Divya said adding that saving the tooth is important because losing baby teeth prematurely can cause a permanent tooth to improperly come in.
She pointed out that it is only in the cases of severe tooth decay that a dentist advises for a dental crown, typically silver in colour.
If the tooth is badly damaged or has an infection, the baby tooth may need to be extracted, said Prof Divya.
She stressed the importance of closely monitoring children as they brush and floss their teeth. Make sure they know the proper technique, and that they brush for the recommended amount of time.
"Parents of younger babies should take care of infant oral care. Even if your baby doesn't have teeth, their mouth still has germs. So wipe their gums with a soft cloth after each feeding, and gently brush their teeth twice a day with a pea-sized amount of kid-friendly fluoride toothpaste," Prof Divya elaborated.
She urged parents to make sure that their children avoid night bottle feeds and snacks, the mouth should be rinsed with water before sleeping, brushing should be started in the first year of a child’s life with just a rice grain amount of paste used twice daily, children who are prone to dental problems must visit the dentist every three months and children with braces or retainers, modified strokes using orthodontic brushes should be demonstrated by the dentist.