Lack of proper diet and drinking of too many soft drinks are some causes of the problem.
Dubai: A large number of children in the UAE suffer from decaying teeth because of poor diet, drinking too many soft drinks and not drinking enough water, leading dentists said yesterday.
“We need to educate the mother right after the child’s birth [on] what type of foods she should feed the baby and how to take care of the baby’s erupting teeth,” said Dr Aisha Sultan, president of the Dental Society, Emirates Medical Association.
She said the situation is getting “worse” despite screening programmes of children in grades one and two at private and government schools. Many children neglect brushing of teeth, she said.
The doctor was speaking to Gulf News on the sidelines of a dental conference looking into new advances in treatment of acid erosion of teeth.
“‘Fizzy drinks’ cause 75 per cent of acid erosion,” said Dr Ramesh Bulbule, chairman of the scientific committee of Dental Society. He was quoting an American study. The doctor said children here not only drink too many soft drinks, but do not drink enough water.
Asked whether lack of insurance cover holds back people into taking proper care of their teeth, the doctor said it is “just a matter of time” when teeth will be covered by health insurance. The health authorities have made insurance mandatory for everyone. Dental coverage is also likely, he said. But he said that people do not care about their teeth until it starts to hurt.
A private dentist said the DMFT (decaying, missing, filled teeth) among children is much higher in the UAE than in Europe.