Teodoro Arellano Benjamin Solomon

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Teodoro Arellano

Benjamin Solomon

English 1010


Tooth Decay, a serious problem: Prevention methods

Dental caries has been recognized worldwide as a public health problem; because of this many countries have incorporated prevention programs especially in infants on oral health. Many studies reveal that the number of children treated in dental offices has increased in recent years, and it is becoming more serious. It has been reported cases of infants treated under general anesthesia due to the severity of this disease. Some researchers claim that the main problem is the parents, who are not taking due importance to this problem. Dental caries is a disease that must be treated from the beginning. There are several methods of prevention, starting with nutrition during gestation status of the mother and continuing through the child's growth and the appearance of their first teeth. Advances in dentistry have allowed the dentist and the patient to have a closer relationship, avoiding invasive procedures and applying different prevention methods, such as the application of fluoride in its different presentations, or the application of sealants. Based on researches and reviews of various dentists, most of them are agree that this problem should be addressed from the beginning through prevention methods, but each of them implement a different style and with different priorities.

Garcia A defined dental caries as a multifactorial disease characterized by the destruction of tooth tissues as a result of demineralization due to acids produced by bacterial plaque, taking food waste as a substrate, exposed to the bacteria. In the article "early childhood caries, prevention and treatment" Garcia Explains about what factors contribute to the development of dental caries. Some of these factors are generally classified as: biological, physical, environmental, behavioral, eating and hygiene habits. Garcia argues that the dental caries should be treated since its inception and he believes that dental caries is a social issue where people with low income groups are the most affected. Garcia recommended orientation programs on oral health in schools and hospitals. Garcia like Nicholas Bakalar are agree that prevention should start from the stage of pregnancy of the mother, due to the strict diet that she must follow during this period

Bakalar mentions in his article "Low Vitamin D in mothers tied to cavities in babies", the possible relationship between the cavities and the low intake of vitamin D during pregnancy period. This article shows an studies made ​​by scientists in 134 mothers, where shows low levels of vitamin D, and as a consequence of this a high percentage of infants had deficits or thinning enamel and another high percent had cavities. Bakalar explain during the gestation period is recommended to maintain vitamin D levels. In the gestation period calcium intake is recommended for the formation of bone structures, and vitamin D for the binding of calcium in the bone structures and teeth. Garcia and Bakalar affirm that preventing tooth decay in pregnant women should be controlled by the pediatrician and in some cases it is recommended sun exposure to remedy the deficiency of vitamin D.

As Garcia mentioned, low-income people are the most affected, either because insurance can’t cover it, or treatments are too expensive to be treated in time. This is probably the area where we could see more complex cases. Catherine Saint Louis reported in his article "Preschoolers in surgery for a mouthful of cavities," a child of just 2 ½ years that was admitted to the operating room of the Seattle Children's Hospital for an operation under general anesthesia. His pediatric dentist extracted two incisors, performed to root canal on a molar, and gave the rest fillings and crowns. There are cases like this where you have to perform multiple procedures in one session because of the severity of the oral health status. According to Saint Louis most parents claim not to have the necessary financial resources to take their children to the dentist. In these cases local anesthesia is not an option for either the patient or the dentist, so general anesthesia is the only option to treat the patient. According to Saint Louis the cost for treating a patient under general anesthesia can range from $ 2,000 to $ 5,000 or even more.

Many hospitals and universities have implemented programs to promote oral health, which is explain to the parents options to prevent tooth decay without spending much money. One of the methods is the use of fluoride in its different forms such as water, salt, toothpaste and some products are applied only by the dentist.

Weintraub public an article called "Fluoride Varnish Efficacy in Preventing Early Childhood Caries," Weintraub explains in this article a method of preventing fluorine-based, it is the Fluoride Varnish. Fluoride varnish is a concentrated topical fluoride containing sodium fluoride (NaF), 5% or synthetic resin base. The varnish is applied by brush in the tooth, providing a highly concentrated dose of fluoride and maintains prolonged contact with the tooth surface to inhibit dental caries. Fluoride varnish is a material that is painted on teeth to help the health of your child's teeth and stop cavities. Fluoride varnish can also help stop cavities that have already started. The purpose of this treatment is to remove the fear that exists between children and dentist, avoiding invasive procedures at such a young age.

Today many dentists have chosen to follow this example, looking for other alternatives that can treat children with no problem. R. Condo mentions in his article "Sealants in dentistry: a Systematic review of the literature", another preventive alternative fluorine-based and other properties. Condo, explains that one of the causes of dental decay may also be the anatomy of the teeth. In these areas, monitoring the accumulation and removal of bacterial plaque results unsatisfactory, especially in kids, because their tooth has a dental anatomy with deeper cracks. Condo mentioned a product called "sealants". The seleant is a plastic, thin layers, which is applied to the surfaces of the teeth. The application of sealants is simple and painless. Sealants are applied by "painting" the tooth with a liquid layer that hardens quickly and forms a protective coating. The sealing of pits and fissures has proven to be most effective not only in preventing decay before it starts, also stopping the progress of the carious lesion in its earliest stages. Unlike Weintraub, Condo argues that we should be very careful with the dosage of fluoride, as it can be harmful to children in high concentrations. One of the consequences is known as dental fluorosis or also called mottling of tooth enamel, is a developmental disturbance of dental enamel caused by excessive exposure to high concentrations of fluoride during tooth development.


After reviewing this information, it is clear that this disease can have serious consequences if we do not take the proper precautions, especially in children who are most susceptible or prone due to the factors already mentioned above. It is the responsibility of all parents educate their children in a correct oral hygiene, correct poor eating habits, and take him to the dentist regularly for checks.

Advances in dentistry have made it possible to treat this disease from the beginning, thus avoiding long and painful procedures. This disease is caused by different factors such as Garcia mentioned in his article. One factor may be the structure of the teeth, due to the deep fissures present in the teeth, especially in infants as reported by Condo. The use of sealant in this case it is most advisable. I can say this is one of the most effective methods according to research carried out in this work due to the high percentage of success in treatment.

Many of these treatments are unknown to some people; in fact they expect to see their children with their teeth destroyed or hear them cries because of pain to take them to the dentist. In my opinion it is the responsibility of the government and health centers promote this information in schools and hospitals. Only in this way can we be well informed on how to prevent dental caries.

Work Cited

Bakalar Nicholas. “Low Vitamin D in mothers tied to cavities in babies”. The New York Times.April 21, 2014: Nytimes.com. Web. April 21, 2014

Condo R. and Cols. Sealants in dentistry: a Systematic review of the literature. Oral & Implantology 2013- anno VI - n. 3: 67-74

García A, De La Teja E. Caries temprana de la infancia. Prevención y tratamiento. Presentación de un caso. Acta Pediatr Mex 2008;29(2):69-72

Saint Louis Catherine. "Preschoolers in Surgery for a mouthful of cavities”. The New York Times. March 6, 2012: Nytimes.com. Web. March 6, 2012.

Weintraub J. and Cols. Fluoride Varnish Efficacy in Preventing Early Childhood Caries. J Dent Res 2006: 85(2):172-176

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