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Decay of tiny teeth

06 February 2012

Yesterday the Sunday Telegraph reported that almost half of Australia’s six-year olds have dental decay in one of more of their deciduous (baby) teeth according to a survey from the Australian Insitute of Health and Welfare.

The Child Dental Health Surveys Australia report stated that dental health did not improve with age with 50% of all 12 year-olds also having an average of one or more teeth affected by decay.

The report was based on school dental services provided in 2005 and 2006 for 193,457 children aged 4 to 15. And according to the Australian Dental Association there are 19 million decayed teeth in Australia.

Last year we wrote about Adelaide University and their research into the worsening state of Australian children and the reasons for the apparent increase in decay ( It could due to the increase in access to sugary foods and carbohydrates, or perhaps less strict supervision by parents or maybe even the use of bottled vs fluoridated water. Regardless of the reasons, we must be more proactive about decay prevention rather than the reactive drill and fill philosophy of old.

Recently, I had to restore two teeth in my eight-year old and this is despite looking in his mouth often and regular check-ups and cleans. This translates into taking radiographs of the deciduous teeth with small bitewing x-rays as soon as a child is able to tolerate it. With this change in protocol we’ve picked up lesions that we would otherwise have missed. We believe this means less discomfort for the child and less expensive treatments that the parents would have to pay for.

So, make sure to look regularly in your child’s mouth for anything amiss and make sure that they have a professional check -up on a regular basis. Especially don’t delay if a child complains of a tooth being sore. We all want the best for our little ones so make sure to do the right thing by them.