Muscat: At a recent dental camp conducted at the Sri Lankan School, Muscat, dentists found that eight in every 10 students between the ages of five and 10 year had dental issues.
These issues required immediate visits to a dentist in order to be treated. The dental awareness camp was conducted by the Al Essa Dental Clinic.
Dentists from the clinic checked nearly 500 children at the camp, and found that while cavities and tooth decay seemed to be a major concern, other problems, such as plaque build-up and weak gums also needed quick medical attention in order to stop these problems from aggravating further.
Speaking to the Times of Oman, Dr Priya Rajeev, one of the dentists at the camp, said, “The children don’t know the importance of teeth. It is the duty of the parent to brush their child’s teeth up to the age of six.”
“Once they have crossed six and gotten the knowledge of proper brushing, later on they can just observe their children at times, look at how they brush, examine the condition of their teeth and ask them if they have any pain,” she added.
Rajeev also added that fast foods and soft drinks that are so readily available to children these days cause major damage to their teeth.
“Soft drinks are acidic in nature and those acids react with the teeth,” she revealed. “They cause tooth decay and erode the enamel. If children eat sweets and then don’t brush their teeth, the sweets get stuck on the child’s teeth and that’s how the bacteria starts developing in the teeth.
“We cannot ask children to stop eating sweets completely, but we have to ask them to take some precautions,” explained Rajeev. “The best thing is to go to the dentist every six months so that they can evaluate the condition.”
“Oral health is very important for children because oral problems can lead to other problems. Our food system starts from the oral cavity. When you eat food, any bacteria in the mouth will be taken in so that can lead to many problems.”
Neel Subasinghe, the principal of the Sri Lankan School, Muscat, agreed with Dr Rajeev’s findings.
“Artificial foods have created a lot of health issues with children,” he revealed. “Though we tell them not to eat junk food and we give them a lot of healthy solutions, health problems in children are now being caused by this food all over the world.”
“As teachers, we can educate them, but parents should also play a major role in taking care of these children,” he added. “You need to create good habits in them and provide them with healthy food, because children don’t know these things. They are very innocent and as adults, we must educate them.”
Any information that is being sent to children about good health is not just for them, but for parents to learn from as well, he said.
“Parents need to educate themselves via any awareness sessions that are organised,” he said.
“They can take children to these sessions as well, and rather than just telling small kids, they can show them some pictures that show them what will happen if they follow bad habits. We have to open our eyes because otherwise these children will be rapidly affected by junk food.”