Children’s dental care is at the heart of our future, but just how well is it doing?
According to a new study published in the journal Science, the answer is “not great”.
This is despite the fact that we know more about the conditions that cause and cure cavities than ever before.
What’s more, the new study finds that the vast majority of cavities in children today are due to a variety of conditions, not just cavities caused by tooth decay.
The findings could have implications for our ability to diagnose and treat these conditions in the future, says lead author Dr Lisa Lipschutz of the University of Oxford in the UK.
“There’s been a huge amount of interest in the problem of children’s health over the last decade, and it’s very exciting that the answer to this question is ‘not so good’,” says Dr Lipsichutz.
The researchers used a mathematical model to investigate how cavities affect children’s oral health.
They found that the key to finding a good solution to cavities is to have a good understanding of the disease itself.
This knowledge can be acquired from the children themselves, their families and healthcare providers.
This could be a key factor in finding a solution to the problem.
“The key here is to start at the start, which is what we did,” says Dr Jules Moller of the Department of Dentistry at the University College London, UK.
The model was developed using data from a large survey of dental staff in a UK dental hospital.
“This was the first systematic review of children with dental health,” says Professor Lipskiewicz.
“Previous studies had focused on the impact of poor dental health on children’s outcomes, such as poor oral hygiene or poor oral care.
This paper is very useful because it addresses these problems at the level of individual patients, which was never before possible.”
This was an important step forward in understanding children’s children’s risk of dental cavities and how to improve their dental health.
“The researchers also looked at the impact that different levels of dental education had on dental health in children.
“It’s very clear from this paper that there is a relationship between the level and the degree of education.” “
We found that children with the highest levels of education had the lowest risk of cavions, which could have resulted in a significant reduction in the rate of children developing cavities,” says co-author Dr Christine Emshwiller of the Faculty of Dentetics at King’s College London.
“It’s very clear from this paper that there is a relationship between the level and the degree of education.”
The findings suggest that children need to have good oral health as well as a high level of education in order to improve dental health.
“Dental education is essential to a healthy dental health, but our research suggests that our understanding of cavias and their treatment is not always well aligned,” says Lipschtutz.
“If children with cavities need to be educated in order for them to improve oral health, it’s a missed opportunity.”
The authors note that this study did not investigate children with oral conditions that were related to poor oral health and therefore could not be directly linked to the results.
“However, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that dental education can play a key role in children’s early health and disease development,” says Emshwiller.
“Further research is needed to explore the relationship between education, oral health in childhood and dental disease.”
“We believe this paper is a significant contribution to the understanding of childrens oral health,” concludes Dr Lipperschutz.
Image credit: Jules Lipschnutz/King’s College UK