The leading cause of dental problems in the UAE is dental caries, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said in its Twitter clinic on Thursday.
Dr Khalid Al Gergawi, consultant prosthodontist, said the main cause of caries is poor oral hygiene and a diet that is high in sugar content and junk food. “The other problem is frequent daily consumption of these foods. Dentists recommend that people should eat sugary foods at one time during the day rather than eat it in smaller quantities throughout the day.”
He said patients often delay visiting the dentist which worsens the problem. “Many patients visit us when the tooth is severely decayed and cannot be restored unless replaced. This complicates a simple caries case into a more complex procedure. Ideally, people should visit a dentist or a hygienist every six months to detect any caries or oral problems early on.”
The second most common problem after caries is gum disease, which is caused by poor oral hygiene that leads to bacteria buildup and other systemic diseases. “Diabetics are more likely to develop periodontal disease and therefore they need to follow a disciplined oral hygiene routine.”
In terms of oral hygiene for children, Dr Mahmoud Abou Gazya, specialist senior dentist at DHA’s primary healthcare sector, said: “After the child gets the first tooth, parents should ensure the child is seen by a dentist every six months. Excessive consumption of sugary foods and poor oral hygiene causes premature loss of teeth in children due to caries.”
It is important to ask children to rinse their mouth after consuming chocolates or sugary foods. They should brush their teeth 30 minutes after having carbonated drinks or citrus foods.
“The 30-minute gap after citrus foods helps protect the teeth. Fruits – particularly orange or lemon – vinegar, sport drinks and soft drinks, all have a very high level of acidity in them and they soften the enamel. If you brush your teeth straight away, you’re going to damage the softened enamel. Waiting to brush for at least 30 minutes gives your mouth time to produce enough saliva to neutralise the acidity.”
Gazya also advised against bottle nursing at night. “Don’t put your infant or older child down for a nap with a bottle of juice, formula, or milk. Sugary liquids cling to the teeth, feeding bacteria that can cause tooth decay. If you must give your child a bottle to take to bed, make sure it contains only water.”
© Khaleej TimesAug 2015