Canada - Cavities plaguing Nova Scotian children — Dental Association: Prevention, consistency, care keys to healthy smiles
By the age of six, 36 per cent of Nova Scotian children have cavities. There are currently more than 500 children waiting for dental treatment at the IWK Health Centre, and close to 30 per cent of the IWK’s surgical time is dedicated to treating dental diseases.
Dr. Jeff Bonang, president of the NSDA and a practicing family dentist, says Canadian children miss a shocking amount of school each year because of dental-related illnesses or emergencies: a total of 2.26 million school days.
“We hope that parents and guardians will take the time to read our report and think about the best habits they can introduce to their child’s dental care routine,” says Bonang. “Good oral health starts early, and we want Nova Scotian children to have good oral health for life.”
April is national Oral Health Month and dentists across the province are urging families to establish a proper home dental care routine. Parents can set a good example by brushing at least twice a day — and always before bedtime — as well as flossing once a day.
The report emphasized the importance of good nutrition. The NSDA is calling for the province to implement a “sugar reduction strategy,” particularly for school-aged children.
It also included a section about the benefits of fluoride, calling it “a major ally in fighting tooth decay.” The association’s position is that the provincial government needs to encourage municipalities to add fluoride to public water systems if it’s not already there — and prevent municipalities with fluoridated water from removing it.
Nutrition and oral health
What we eat and drink plays an important role in the health of our mouths. Here are some tips from the Nova Scotia Dental Association on how to prevent tooth decay and build healthy habits from the very beginning . . .
Fruits and vegetables contain fiber and water that help balance natural sugars and clean teeth. Plus, they help create saliva that rinses away harmful acids and food particles.
Fluoridated water is the most tooth-friendly beverage a child can drink. Sugary drinks like pop, juice and sports drinks are the leading risk factor for tooth decay, and drinking them as children usually leads to drinking them as adults.
If using a soother, use an age-appropriate size and never dip it in sweets. Start bottle weaning and introduce drinking from a cup at age one.
Never put your baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup of milk or any other liquid other than water. Limit juice or other sweet drinks to no more than four ounces a day, at meal time only.
If available, fresh fruit, vegetables, hard cheeses, unsweetened yogurt and nuts are all tooth-friendly between meal snacks. They contain important vitamins and nutrients that are not only good for the teeth but also for the whole body.
Avoid between-meal snacks that contain refined sugar and carbohydrates such as cookies, cakes, teething biscuits, crackers, potato chips, gummies, fruit snacks and granola bars. All children deserve a treat now and then, so keep sweets to a dessert at mealtime or for a special occasion!
Source: Nova Scotia Dental Association
Good advice apart from fluoridation. Having to start cooking myself to help my wife cope with a broken arm I'm amazed at how much sugar is in everything. No wonder teeth don't last.