Paediatric Dentistry Conference

So a few weeks ago one of my study days was a Paediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic conference which covered the main challenges when managing children in practice.

There has been a lot of publicity recently about the high caries rate in under 3 year olds and in London, the most common reason for children being admitted to hospital is to have teeth taken out under general anaesthetic!

For a preventable disease, this is quite shocking!

So why is caries a public health problem?

The impact that caries has on oral health can be significant - it can lead to pain, it affects a patient' s quality of life and can have high financial implications in terms of the cost of managing the disease and loss of earnings in order to visit the dentist. 

Although caries prevalence has gone down in the past 40 years (mainly due to fluoridated toothpastes), untreated caries is the globally the highest prevalent disease in adults (35%), whilst this figure is around 9% in children and only two thirds to children in the UK see a dentist regularly. 

More and more people are retaining their teeth for longer so caries is going to become more and more prevalent. 

Caries has also been associated with poor child growth, low weight, higher risk of hospitalisation, higher school absence and compromised academic performance. 

Oral disease has also been shown to be the 4th most expensive to treat in the UK and dental health education is not very effective in preventing disease. 

Dental health professionals are at an ideal position to screen for other general health problems as well as for oral health as most people see dentists more regularly than they see any other health professional. For example, dentists could be used in the future to screen for diabetes, obesity and provide smoking cessation services. 

Whilst programmes like Childsmile in Scotland helped to reduce caries in children and improve oral health, other means need to be taken throughout the country to help prevent oral disease in children. 

During the conference there was also a presentation about Orthodontics (to see some of my previous posts about orthodontics see here), and also trauma in children which you can see an overview of here.

I hope you've found this post useful! Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

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