KSA dentists lament state of nation’s teeth

Over 80% of dentists interviewed in a recent survey said an alarming number of children experience cavities in their primary and permanent dentition.

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By  David Ingham Published  February 14, 2006

A recent survey conducted with 50 leading dentists in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia revealed that the majority of children there suffer from poor oral health. Over 80% of dentists interviewed for the survey stated that an alarming number of children experience cavities in their primary and permanent dentition. “Primary teeth are the foundation of a healthy mouth, including the positioning of permanent teeth and the healthiness of the gum,” said Dr. Mohammed Saleem Quoshi, orthodontist at Fahad Dental Center Centre, Riyadh. “If a child’s primary teeth become broken or decayed and are not properly treated, problems can occur with permanent teeth, which may lead to serious oral health matters.” The survey, sponsored by Oral B, indicated that the main cause for this situation was parents’ low awareness levels of oral health and oral care basics such as regular tooth brushing, flossing and dental visits. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, attacks when a child’s teeth are exposed to sugary liquids and foods for an extended period of time. Left frequently on the enamel on primary or permanent teeth, plaque erodes the surface enamel and hence causes tooth decay. “The essential to fight tooth decay is to contain the enemy at the early start of its formation and to even prevent it from being formed through regular and proper oral hygiene habits,” said LK Gupta, regional business manager, Oral B. “Oral-B is working closely with the dentist community in the Kingdom to raise the level of oral health awareness among children. Extensive community programs developed and implemented by Oral-B aim at educating children and parents on proper and regular oral hygiene habits.” Dentists interviewed for the Oral-B survey were from Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam and working for large dental clinics and hospitals across the three cities. “Not many parents realise that their children’s oral health begins at a very early age,” said Dr. Quoshi. “Parents must ensure that oral care methods such as tooth brushing, flossing and regular dental visits are practiced at an early age and throughout the entire childhood. Educational programs for pregnant women and school based programs can be effective preventive measures to raise children oral health standards in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” Suggestions coming out of the survey included the following: Infants gums should be cleaned with a small, wet cloth on a daily basis; begin brushing your child’s teeth with a little water as soon as the first tooth appears; and purchase a small, soft toothbrush in the child’s favourite colour or their favourite character.

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