School holidays come around so quickly and I find that I am bracing myself more than I ever used to. Why? Because I know I am going to see more decay in kid’s teeth than I would like to, or am used to over my 28 year career. It is a phenomena that has been reported over the past couple of years but nobody knows exactly why paediatric decay is on the increase.
Some theories include:
- increased consumption of bottled water which may not contain fluoride
- increased consumption of lollies, as more kids are having parties and more time-poor parents have less time to cook, and inevitably more processed, sweeter foods are eaten
- that bacteria have adapted to the effect fluoride has on teeth.
I know from having both my own kids in primary school now that there is an awful lot of lolly eating going on, perhaps more than there ever has been. There are birthday parties every weekend, and they always come back with a bag of lollies, which magically disappears by the next day. Confectionery is marketed more and more, and “in your face” at checkouts everywhere.
Whatever the reason, I anticipate seeing my usual groups of terrific families, responsible parents and great kids in good socio-economic circumstances, and having to break it to them that we have some serious decay problems to fix.
When I first graduated and worked at Westmead hospital, we saw a lot of decay in disadvantaged kids from low socio-economic backgrounds who had high calorie diets. But since practicing in Artarmon for many years and now in Chatswood, seeing decay in kid’s teeth is more surprising.
The thing is, we have better materials and techniques to fix kid’s teeth now, which is good. But it still requires a certain level of cooperation to do it well. We find good ol’ laughing gas, headphones and a DVD playing on the ceiling TV, does the trick. If needed, a gentle injection of local anaesthetic works wonders.
The significance of this recent phenomena of decay in kid’s teeth, was brought home to me in a big way when I found decay in my own daughter’s teeth a few weeks ago! I was mortified as I had been the “dentist nazi dad” who flossed her teeth since she was 3 years old every night without fail!
All of this does make you think that there is something going on that is not well understood. However, there is no doubt that once a decay-susceptible individual is identified, adhering to a strict preventive program is essential to stop even more decay from occurring.
Prevention is always better than cure, which is why I have written a “Kids Protocol” which you can download and view.