Seventy per cent of children under 15 suffer from gum diseases, a nationwide survey found out. Conducted by the Indian Dental Association (IDA), it shows dental decay and oral cancer is rising among children.
Dentists say, dental hygiene in children is always neglected and overlooked as compared to lifestyle diseases like obesity and stress. The IDA surveyed 4 lakh children across India, as part of its community health initiative, and found 40% suffering from malocclusion (faulty jawline).
Dr PD Joshi, consultant dentist at Lilavati hospital, says, “At least 75-80% children come to me with cavity problems. Early cavities are leading to more and more children undergoing root canal.” The procedure is difficult to do in children as their jaws are not properly formed, which leads to a prolonged treatment, he adds.
Dr Karishma Jaradi, aesthetic dentist, Dentzz dental care centres, said, “We see the dental problems depending on the age group. There’s a rise in number of children in the 0-6 age group going for the root canal procedure. Cavities are mainly linked to not brushing the teeth properly after eating.”
“Junk and sugary food items are the main culprits. Also, children tend not to pay much attention to oral hygiene. They wake up early for studies, and are in a hurry to leave for school. In their rush, brushing teeth properly takes a backseat,” says Dr Ashok Dhoble, IDA secretary.
However, doctors say that dental problems among children are different in urban and rural areas. “In urban areas, we see more of cavity problems than oral cancer. In rural areas, it’s the reverse. In a city like Mumbai children eat more of sugary products and junk food, while in rural areas, children start consuming tobacco products,” says Joshi.
The IDA is now visiting schools and conducting interactive seminars to teach children the importance of oral hygiene. “Prevention is the best cure. Apart from brushing teeth twice, children should avoid eating chocolates and ice cream between meals,” Dhoble says.