Abu Dhabi, 01 September 2018: An Abu Dhabi dental practice is reminding parents of the importance of a checkup before the kids go back to school as unchecked dental diseases can lead to sleep deprivation, missed school days, and a lack of concentration.
Dr Nancy Barbar, Pediatric Dentist at Snö Dental, says the fun and excitement of busy summer holidays can often lead to breaks in routine that can impact on oral hygiene for children and stresses that now is a perfect time to have a full dental exam.
Global research by leading *health organisations indicates that dental-related health problems are one of the most common reasons given for **children missing school, which can often force parents to take time off work. The studies also warn parents that poor oral health can put kids at a disadvantage in school as is can be connected to lower grades as well as overall health and happiness.
A recent study by American Journal of Public Health, published by US National Library of Medicine, suggests children with poor oral health status were nearly three times more likely than their counterparts to miss school as a result of dental pain.
Dr Nancy said: “Summer holidays are a fabulous time of year for children, but the breaks from routine and the increase in sugary treats and high-acidic food and drinks can often cause dental issues.
“If left untreated many dental caries such as tooth decay and cavities can lead to sickness and absence from school and the less severe issues can often go undetected, but cause issues with concentration, which is such a key part of a child’s education and development.
“A thorough check-up can take all these worries away and get children back into good oral hygiene routines, such as regular toothbrushing and flossing. With the irrefutable connection between oral health and overall health, children will have a much better school year with less absenteeism and more confidence if dental issues are addressed at the beginning of the school year.”
Snö Dental opened its four-storey, 1300sqm, modern flagship dental hub in Al Nahyan Compound late last year, offering state-of-the-art technology such as full 3D scanning and printing, computerised anaesthetic and a fully digital lab. Snö has also created a more fun paediatrics department for the little ones to help make a trip to the dentist more appealing for its younger patients – and their parents. As well as offering puzzles, books and toys it also features gaming chairs in front of a PlayStation 4.
Dr Per Rehnberg, CEO of Snö Dental said: “A back-to-school checkup can help identify potential dental problems before they have a chance to take a toll on a kids’ school attendance and health. We recommend parents to make dental exams a regular part of their back-to-school routine along with other health exams and necessary immunizations.
“Limiting your child’s candy intake to once a week helps reduce tooth decay. In Sweden, children get chocolates and candy once a week on ‘Sweet Saturday’. This is why we rarely see cavities in children below the age of 18, in Sweden. Friday could be the ‘sweet day’ for our children growing up here.
“And from a more cosmetic point of view, let’s not forget about those all-important school photos. A quick check-up will ensure your child is ‘smile ready’ for the new semester.”
Dr Nancy has these simple tips for parents to ensure children maintain their oral health.
Brush teeth regularly – Begin to teach your child proper brushing techniques by using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush. Start this as soon as the first teeth erupts.
Use toothpaste with fluoride - Fluoridated toothpaste helps to make teeth more resistant to tooth decay.
Eat at prescribed meal times – children could 3 main meals and 2 snacks per day instead of snacking anytime, all day long helps maintain the pH level in the mouth.
Minimise the sugar – A sugary snack can lead to a mouth full of cavities as it brings about an acidity that causes decay-producing bacteria. Limiting your child’s candy intake to once a week helps reduce tooth decay.
Limit juice and junk food - Many parents think juice is a healthy daylong choice for a drink, but it can lead to tooth decay. Limit your child to no more than 4 ounces a day of homemade freshly squeezed fruit juice. In the same way, candy, chocolates, soda, toffee, caramel, lollipops, milkshakes, jellybeans, crisps and chips lead to tooth decay.
Avoid late milk feeds- evidence suggests that caries can occur when babies are put to sleep with a bottle of formula, milk, fruit juices, sodas or other sweetened drinks.
Get regular dental checkups – Your child should see a dentist around the time of his/her first birthday and then regularly every 6 months. This plays an important in establishing a relationship of trust between your child and their dentist.
Become role models – Children tend to learn from the parents by observing and mimicking their habits. Lead by example and demonstrate how important teeth are to overall health.
* Policy on Mandatory School-entrance Oral Health Examinations by AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY - http://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/P_SchoolExms.pdf
**Krisdapong, Sudaduang & Prasertsom, Piyada & Rattanarangsima, Khanit & Sheiham, Aubrey. (2013). School absence due to toothache associated with sociodemographic factors, dental caries status, and oral health-related quality of life in 12- and 15-year-old Thai children. Journal of public health dentistry. 73. 10.1111/jphd.12030.
*** Jackson SL, Vann WF, Kotch JB, Pahel BT, Lee JY. Impact of Poor Oral Health on Children's School Attendance and Performance. Am J Public Health. 2011;101(10):1900-1906. doi:10.2105/ajph.2010.200915.