Childhood tooth decay is a problem for more than just family dental care in SW Portland. The condition has become a global concern that impacts the lives of millions of kids each year. To shed some light on just how big a problem childhood tooth decay has become, researchers in Melbourne, Australia decided to take a closer look at how the problem impacts their own community.
Nearly 2,700 Victorian children between the ages of 0 to 6 years become hospitalized each year for preventable dental conditions, the majority of which require treatment for dental decay under general anesthetic.
This revelation was one among a number covered by researchers at a symposium in Melbourne, where scientists and dentists discussed the latest evidence on children’s oral health, and the latest innovations in treatment and prevention.
Presentations at the symposium covered a wide range of topics that included epidemiology, tele-medicine, pediatric dentistry, genetics and molecular science.
Despite the range of topics, one thing became clear in the findings presented – most cases of oral disease in kids is preventable.
The goal of those at the symposium going forward was the need for further investigation into new ways of reducing oral disease in kids by using the latest scientific evidence to inform education programs and prevention, clinical practices for oral health professionals and the development of new treatments.
Preventing Childhood Tooth Decay
One of the more exciting studies covered at the symposium was a team of researchers that has spent years tracking the bacterial composition of kids’ saliva from the age of one month to 5 years. The study has discovered that infants who do not develop a mix of healthy oral bacteria (what is commonly referred to as the microbiome) have a higher risk of developing tooth decay during the next 3 to 4 years.
Researchers discovered a link between the number of bacterial species in a child’s saliva and advanced dental decay by the time a child reaches the age of 5. Researchers plan on continuing their study to gain a better understanding of how communities of oral bacteria develop in younger kids and hope to soon be able to use these biomarkers to help identify kids at a greater risk of dental disease.
Currently, the team is working to develop and test a new product designed to help prevent and treat early stage childhood tooth decay. The compound would hopefully act as prebiotics in the mouth, encouraging the growth of healthy types of bacteria that keep harmful oral bacteria in check.
The Importance of Quality Oral Health in Kids
Baby teeth rank as a vital part of a child’s oral health development. Kids who suffer from poor oral health in their baby teeth can suffer negative effects with the health of their permanent teeth and may develop a life-time of oral health problems that can have an impact on diet and general health as they enter adolescence and adulthood.