Children’s Week: Healthy teeth for kids is healthy teeth for life

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Children’s WeekAs part of Children’s Week (running from 18-26 October), the Australian Dental Association (ADA) wants Australians to know that if kids have healthy teeth, they have a great chance of having them for life and avoiding dental disease.

Children’s Week is an annual event celebrated in Australia during the fourth week in October, and seeks to focus the attention of the wider community on children, their needs and achievements. In support of Children’s Week, the ADA is highlighting the importance of looking after your teeth from an early age.

Professor David Manton, vice chair of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee, says: “Half of all Australian six year olds have tooth decay in their baby teeth. “There is significant information available to suggest that if dental disease can be avoided in childhood then it is likely to be avoided or significantly reduced in later life. Likewise, if dental disease arises in childhood it is inevitably a predictor of dental disease for later life.”

The following diagram is of the life cycle of a molar tooth once it receives its first restoration. Childrens Week - teeth life cycle The diagram shows that once a tooth is affected by decay, fillings have to be placed. However, fillings have to be replaced when the filling material wears out or the tooth breaks from the weakened tooth structure caused by the decay and later large fillings. Each time they are replaced, more tooth must be removed.

Professor David Manton says, “This does not have to happen. While tooth decay is a chronic disease, for most it is almost entirely preventable. We can improve our children’s oral health by addressing the number ONE cause of tooth decay: the consumption of sugary foods and drinks on a regular basis. Greater focus has to be given to education and prevention. Children and adults need to be made aware of what they can do to ensure long-term good dental health.”

This article first appeared on the Australian Dental Association website.

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