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GUEST EDITORIAL
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 105

Oral health status in the pediatric population, challenges, and current approaches


Program Director, Paediatric Dentistry, Hamdan Bin Mohammed College of Dental Medicine, Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, P. O. Box 505097, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Date of Web Publication19-Nov-2015

Correspondence Address:
Manal Al Halabi
Program Director, Paediatric Dentistry, Hamdan Bin Mohammed College of Dental Medicine, Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, P. O. Box 505097, Dubai
United Arab Emirates
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2348-2915.167870

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How to cite this article:
Al Halabi M. Oral health status in the pediatric population, challenges, and current approaches. J Dent Res Rev 2015;2:105

How to cite this URL:
Al Halabi M. Oral health status in the pediatric population, challenges, and current approaches. J Dent Res Rev [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Oct 17];2:105. Available from: http://www.jdrr.org/text.asp?2015/2/3/105/167870

Dental caries remains the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood worldwide. It is 5 times as prevalent as asthma. Although efforts to fight the disease had been underway for many years in different parts of the world, the disease remains a big challenge. The demographic distribution of dental caries differs between developed and developing countries of the world. In developed countries, dental caries is highly prevalent in the children of parents with lower socioeconomic status and children of immigrant parents. In the developing world, dental caries has a wider distribution between children from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Published reports from the UAE indicate the caries prevalence to be lower in children of educated mothers.

The spotlight on dental caries treatment needs to be shifted from a restorative mechanical approach to a medical approach. As we are all fully aware, caries is a complex disease that results from bacterial byproducts' dissolution of the tooth structure. The multifactorial nature of the disease and the influence of the host factors make it very hard to present a cure for the disease. As with any other medical condition, treating the symptoms of the disease will not provide any cure. The most appropriate way to cure the disease is through a medical approach that manages the contributing factors as well as the host factors.

The initial approach to eradicate the disease can be through managing the bacterial infection causing the disease. The treatment of dental caries using antimicrobial agents such as povidone-iodine and silver nitrate is gaining momentum in different parts of the world. Last month, silver diamine fluoride obtained approval in the United States of America as an antimicrobial agent to aid in arresting carious lesions. Povidone-iodine varnish was found to have superior caries prevention properties to fluoride varnish.

A different approach to the eradication of the disease is through managing the host factors. These factors include but are not limited to the tooth structure and the saliva. The best-known approach to improving the tooth structure and encourage its remineralization is through topical fluoride application in the form of toothpaste, varnish, gel or rinse. Increasing the content of calcium and phosphorus in the saliva will aid in remineralization of the tooth structure. In the cases where the salivary flow rate is lower than normal or when the saliva is highly viscose, it is imperative to try to increase the flow rate and lower the viscosity of saliva.

Diet, namely refined carbohydrates, plays a major role in the production and progression of caries. Control of the amount of ingested sugars and more importantly the frequency will lead to better caries control. Diet rich in calcium and phosphorous will offer better protection against the caries process.

In conclusion, all dental professionals should shift their focus when treating dental caries in children from a restorative approach to a medical curative approach. Stabilizing the disease process by eliminating the sources of the infection and the contributing factors will yield a more favorable environment for the restorative treatment. In doing so, we will eliminate the lifelong continuing cycle of restorations, recurrent caries, new carious lesions and restorations again.




 

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