Regular tooth brushing is vital for the health of childrens' and adults' teeth. But there are other factors that can have a big impact on dental decay, a new study shows. Scientists led by Dr Valeria Skafida from the University of Edinburgh have found that kids who snacked all day had twice the risk to suffer from caries than those who only snacked occasionally. Children that ate sweets at least once a day also were found to have more dental decay at the age of five. Regular tooth brushing could not completely erase the negative effect of sugary snacks on the teeth: Childen that ate sweets and brushed their teeth at least twice a day still had a higher rates of dental problems than the ones without a sweet tooth.
Additional significant risk factors for caries ware the education and occupation of the mother: Kids of mothers with no formal education were reported to have tooth decay more than twice as often as those from mothers with degrees, and children whose mothers had never worked were three and a half times more likely to suffer from poor dental health than those with moms in managerial and professional jobs.
For the study, the scientists had collected data from 3770 children in Scotland over the course of several years. They asked parents about the eating habits, tooth brushing routines and upbringing of their children. Then, they compared how those factors had affected the dental health of the young ones at the age of 5. Even though their baby teeth will eventually make way for adult teeth, a person's oral hygiene practices are firmly established in the first years of life, and bad habits may be carried over well into adulthood. The research suggests that snacking habits could be a good additional target for interventions that aim to improve the dental health of the population.(© AcademiaNet)