Dental decay

World Health Organization
Dental decay is the most frequent childhood diseace in the planet. Five times more frequent than asthma and seven times more frequent than hey fever|
World Health Organization
Dental decay is the most frequent childhood diseace in the planet. Five times more frequent than asthma and seven times more frequent than hey fever|

In the course of the years, the percentage of dental decay development has dropped dramatically mainly due to the use of fluoride and the information and education provided to the public. However, even nowadays in the developed countries of the western world 80% of the dental decay problem seems to attack 20% of the population that is the weaker socio-economic layers. According to international researches, 1 of 4 children 5 years old, 1 out of 2 children 12 years old and 8 out of 10 teenagers 15 years old suffer dental carries. No statistical research has been carried out in Cyprus in this respect and from our own observations at the clinic, dental decay tends to attack children of all socio-economic layers. Let us begin by explaining what dental decay is.

What causes dental decay:

Dental decay is a multi - factor bacterial tooth disease. It is the outcome of the interaction of 4 factors as set out in the diagram.

Diet

Dental decay is caused by bacteria combined with food (sugar or starch) which come into contact with teeth. After a meal, the bacteria ferment the sugar and starch of foodstuffs and transform them into acids. Acids are then retained by the tooth enamel and dissolve the calcium found on the external surface.

This harmful acid effect lasts only 20 minutes after every meal. To follow, the amount of calcium which left the teeth, returns to the surface. This back and forth movement of calcium from teeth to saliva and vice versa is repeated every time we eat. When the frequency of food intake is increased, for example, children who nibble continuously during the day there is a permanent production of acids and therefore an increased calcium deficiency from teeth resulting in the development of dental decay. Intervals between meals are essential so that the organism may restore the calcium loss from teeth by the intake of food. Research has shown that a food intake rate up to 6 times a day does not increase the risk of dental decay.

Bacteria

The second factor and possibly most important one according to contemporary research, is the number of specific cariogenic bacteria in the mouth. If the number of such bacteria is increased, the possibility of dental decay development is also increased.

Recent research has shown that bacteria are transferred from the mother's saliva to her baby even before the eruption of the first baby tooth. It has also been found that if the mother has an increased number of bacteria in her mouth (decayed teeth, gingivitis) her child may also acquire a high number of bacteria and therefore may be at high risk of dental decay.This transmission of bacteria from mother to child usually occurs from 6 months to age 3 of the child.

The following recommendations are of great importance:

  1. Avoid mouth to mouth kissing a baby and the common use of kitchen utensils (spoons, cups,etc.) to prevent the transfer of bacteria through saliva.
  2. Begin brushing your child's teeth from the age of one. It has been proven that if tooth brushing begins at this age the child will suffer less from dental decay. This happens because this early tooth brushing habit can diminish the number of bacteria from the very first stages of their development.
  3. Visit your own Dentist (mum) regularly, maintain good oral hygiene to decrease your own number of bacteria.

Teeth-host

  1. Sensitive tooth. Crowded teeth and teeth with deep and narrow pits and fissures retain food and make cleaning very difficult. Also, teeth with structural anomalies like enamel hypoplasia, contain less amount of calcium and are sensitive to dental decay.
  2. Saliva. Decreased salivary secretion enables the development and accumulation of bacteria. Also increased acidity in saliva may increase risk of dental decay. We provide a special saliva test where we can evaluate the quality ant the type of saliva your child has.

Severe early childhood caries (Baby bottle tooth decay)

Night feeding
Night feeding with milk or tea without brushing = Big risk for severe early caries|
Breast feeding
Breast feeding may damage the baby's teeth if used through the night without cleaning the teeth after|
Night feeding
Night feeding with milk or tea without brushing = Big risk for severe early caries|
Breast feeding
Breast feeding may damage the baby's teeth if used through the night without cleaning the teeth after|

One of the biggest threats to the dental health of your child is the use of the baby - bottle filled with milk, juice or tea at night time. If your child falls asleep with a baby bottle in his mouth, his teeth will be soaking for hours in a sugary liquid (milk, juice or tea), which may create a severe pattern of dental decay called "Baby Bottle Syndrome" (now it is called early childhood caries). During day time, the same juice or milk is dissolved rapidly by saliva and swallowed. During night time sleep however, swallowing and salivary secretion are slowed down and this gives sugars plenty of time to interact with bacteria present in the mouth and create acids which destroy teeth and cause dental decay .The baby-bottle syndrome may appear from the age of 12 months and lead to complete destruction mainly of the upper front teeth as well as back teeth within a few months, with a dramatic impact on the appearance, chewing and speech of children. Sleepless nights, due to pain are very frequent.

The following conditions must apply in order to prevent the baby - bottle syndrome development:

  • Do not put your child to bed with a baby bottle at night time.
  • Stop the prolonged baby - bottle nursing during the day.
  • Begin to brush your child's teeth from the age of one.
  • Start visiting your pediatric dentist when your child reaches one year old.
  • Last thing before bedtime is brushing, not the bottle.
  • When your child starts getting some teeth, better to stop feeding it with milk through the night, but if you do so please wipe the teeth to remove milk remnants.
  • Breastfeeding can equally damage the baby's teeth if used for prolonged time periods, or through the night after the baby starts getting some teeth. Please, consult your Pediatrician on the matter.
Age one
First visit to the dentist at the latest|
Brushing teeth
Brushing teeth from age one = A treasure for your child's teeth|
Diet:
No more than 3 sugary snacks per day|
Dummy sucking
Better stop between 2-4 years old|
Thumb sucking
If your child is above 4 years old and is still thumb sucking, then we can help you|
Prevention
Dental prevention starts from pregnancy|
First tooth
First baby tooth erupts between 6/10 months|
Juices and soft drinks
Frequent consumption of juices and soft drinks can destroy your teeth fast|
Decay
Dental decay is the most frequent childhood disease|
Fluoride treatment
Fluoride treatments in the dental office twice a year can decrease dental decay by 40%!|
Sealants
Sealants can save the molar teeth from dental decay|
Fluoride
Fluoride causes no harm in the correct dose|
Mouth breathing
Chronic mouth breathing can cause serious orthodontic problems|
First exam
First orthodontic exam at age 6-7 years old|
Orthodontic treatment
Orthodontic treatment is for all ages|
Phobia
Dental phobia can be managed professionally|
Special needs
Children with special needs can find help in our office|