Dubai: A combination of poor dental hygiene, diet and parents' lack of knowledge about tooth care has put the UAE high among the countries where children have the most number of decayed teeth.
For children in the UAE between five to six years of age, the DMFT (the count of decayed, missing or filled teeth) is five to six, said Dr Tarun Walia, a specialist paediatric dentist. He said in comparison, the DMFT for the same age group of children in India and Pakistan is 1.5 to 2.
A Ministry of Health report earlier said the majority of children (87 per cent) here suffer from poor oral hygiene, but did not give details.
Dr Walia advised babies should not be given sugar in their feed.
"Even a pinch of sugar is bad," he said, and also warned against giving juice in bottles to babies just before bedtime.
The doctor advises mothers to clean the gum pads of their babies using a clean muslin cloth after each feed.
"Human milk is as sweet as powdered milk," he said.
He was speaking to Gulf News after a symposium called Dentalumina organised by the NMC Speciality Hospital.
The dentist said children can have three sugar doses a day, but nothing beyond that.
"Try and eat chocolate in one go instead of nibbling at it over a period of time," he advises.
He said the teeth cannot stand the acid produced every time.
"Crisps and fries are also bad for the teeth," he warned. Cleaning the tongue is also important along with proper brushing of the teeth, he said. The dentist said the proper way to brush is to start from one corner of the mouth in circular motions to the other end of the mouth. "The insides of the teeth also have to be cleaned," he added.
Tips: Dentist's advice
- Clean the gum pads of babies after every feed using a clean muslin cloth
- Give no more than three sugar doses to a child in a day
- Cleaning the tongue is also important for fresh breath
- A child's tooth which has come off after an accident should be kept in cold milk as it can be re-attached
First impressions: Smile is important
Shah Rukh Khan is Bollywood's best endorsement of an Indian hunk but has the worst looking teeth, a top Mumbai dentist told Gulf News.
Dr Sushant Umre said Bollywood actresses always had good teeth and only recently have actors started getting work done on their teeth.
He said in this competitive world a set of good-looking teeth is important. "The first thing people look at after the eyes are the teeth. A pleasant smile and nice teeth are important."