28 July 2012
Is your child three years old? Then it's time for a dental check-up.
Ignoring regular check-ups could result in your child losing permanent teeth (at least one) by the age of 30. Not maintaining oral hygiene, eating junk food and contracting diabetes at early age results in teeth loss as early as 35 years, say city dentists.
Policewoman Navya Patil, 29, paid a heavy price of not maintaining oral hygiene. Navya (name changed) was fond of sweets, but wouldn't brush teeth after eating. This resulted in dental cavities very early. She also didn't go to a dentist. She got married at 24. After 3 years, she lost about six teeth within a year and lost all her teeth in next two. Her husband divorced her and she's had to use dentures.
Says Dr C Jagadeesh, president, Indian Dental Association, Karnataka chapter: "Dental cavities are seen in children as young as two years, mainly because they're not taught how to brush their teeth. Also, eating junk food and drinking colas can cause cavities. If ignored at a young age, it can result in losing teeth by the age of 30-35 years."
Dentists are treating much younger patients now. "I see at least 100 patients every month who are around 30 years and have lost at least one tooth. It's because there's no awareness about oral hygiene. We go to a dentist only if we have a toothache. Parents don't bring children only if their teeth aren't growing properly," said Dr D Shrinidhi, president, Indian Dental Association, Bangalore chapter.
Increase in incidence of diabetes and use of smokeless tobacco have also resulted in dental loss at a young age. "Everyone must use a toothpaste with proper quantity of fluoride. Using a proper brush, preferably soft and sensitive, to clean teeth is a must. Lack of Vitamin C and increased use of gutka and khaini among youngsters have increased tooth loss at early age," said Dr Sachin Sinha, assistant professor, department of oral pathology,Rajarajeshwari Dental College
Beware of milk bottle
"Keeping a milk bottle in the mouth overnight and then not cleaning the teeth can cause cavities in a child even at 2 years. If parents neglect this problem, the child will start losing milk teeth by 6, while the ideal age for this is 8-10 years. This will also make permanent teeth unhealthy and result in tooth loss at a very early age," said Dr C Jagadeesh.
Go for regular dental check-ups at least once in a year. If you have developed cavities then it is advisable to visit a dentist twice a year. Also parents must take the child for a first dental check-up at the age of 3. Even schools must make it compulsory for every child to undergo regular dental check-ups, advised the dentists.
Tips for oral hygiene
* Brush teeth twice a day with any toothpaste
* Don't use tooth powder or charcoal powder
* Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
* Avoid junk food and colas
* Gargle after every meal
* Wash your mouth after drinking tea or coffee
* Visit a dentist regularly
* Clean your tongue twice a day
How to brush?
* Use the right toothbrush, preferably soft or sensitive brush
* Brush teeth twice a day for 2-3 minutes
* Avoid brushing for longer time
* Don't brush too hard or too often
* Don't start brushing from same side; change sides every day
* Don't skip inner teeth and thoroughly rinse after brushing
* Let toothbrush dry after using it
* Avoid brushing horizontally. Brush upper teeth in lower direction and vice-versa
* Change your brush every 3-4 months