Importance of Oral Health in a Child

Deciduous or primary teeth are the first non-permanent teeth that appear as early as six months old of infant’s development. The first deciduous tooth to fall could be observed by the age of five to six years, depending on the oral care given to the child. The temporary teeth serve as the guide for the correct arrangement and alignment of the permanent teeth. Temporary tooth slowly detaches from the gum while permanent tooth emerges as replacement. The early loss of primary teeth due to accidental cause or decay could greatly affect the later development of the permanent teeth ("Managing Infant’s and Young Children’s Oral Health" 2.1). Although the accidental cause due to injury or abrasion could not be controlled, tooth decay could be prohibited and avoided.
The care for primary teeth has not given emphasis because of the fact that primary teeth are just temporary and will be replaced later by permanent teeth. For this reason, tooth decay among children is not new. Bacterial respiration or acids from the diet could cause tooth decay in children. The oral hygiene and care, and diet of the child could highly influence the rate and occurrence of tooth decay. Mahoney and Kilpatrick stated that oral medications such as mouthwash and toothpaste affect the rate of tooth decay. The high acidity and the presence of EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), which is known as dematerializing agent, in mouthwash makes the mouthwash a possible cause of tooth wear. Their study also showed that the low pH of medicine such as asthma medicine of children increased tooth wear. Furthermore, they mentioned that the abrasion caused by brushing of teeth followed by intake of relatively acidic beverages showed an increase rate of tooth decay. According to Marshall et al., there are high occurrences of tooth caries to children who have frequent consumption of soda pops as compared to milk and 100% pure fruit juice. They concluded that sweet beverages, particularly soda pops, caused high dental caries occurrences. Moreover, the drinks sweetened with sucrose could cause higher dental problem as compared to drinks sweetened with different kind of sugar like fructose (e186).
In the study of Mariri et al., antibiotics’ influence to dental caries was tested. The effect of antibiotics to caries occurrences was not established as compared to fluoride that showed a significant decrease to dental caries (49). In the areas where water distributed has added fluorine- through fluoridation, oral health of children is better as compared to areas that are not fluoridated. In the study of Lee and Dennison, the fluoridation of water in Canterbury leads to healthier oral status of children as compared to water in Wellington, New Zealand, which is not fluoridated (10).
Although brushing can cause tooth abrasion, proper brushing and appropriate kind and quality of toothbrush can minimize this effect to children. Still, deciduous teeth caries occurrences were primarily due to frequent consumption of food diets rich in sugar ( Mariri et al. 49). Regular brushing of teeth also showed a significant decrease in dental caries due to rich in fluoride toothpaste usage.
The oral care of children should be emphasized. The dental health status of children is important and should be monitored and maintained. The oral health of children will primarily dictate the dental health status of their later development. Furthermore, it will also affect their school performance, character building, physical appearance, and emotional development as a whole.
Children with healthy deciduous teeth will have a healthy appetite, healthy body, and healthy smile, ready to face their future.
Lee, Martin, and Peter J. Dennison. "Water fluoridation and dental caries in 5- and 12-year-old children from Canterbury and Wellington." New Zealand Dental Journal 1 March 2004: 10-15.
Mahoney, Erin K., and Nicky M. Kilpatrick. " Dental Erosion: Part 1. Aetiology and Prevalence of Dental Erosion." New Zealand Dental Journal 2 June 2003: 33-41.
"Managing Infant’s and Young Children’s Oral Health." A Health Professional’s Guide to Pediatric Oral Health Management 2003. 22 October 2008 .
Mariri et al. "Medically administered antibiotics, dietary habits, fluoride intake and dental caries experience in the primary dentition." Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology 31 Jan. 2003: 40-51.
Marshall et al. "Dental Caries and Beverage Consumption in Young Children." Pediatrics 112 September 2003: e184-e191.