Dr Mark O'Donnell B.D.S
Monday - Thursday
Tuesday and Friday mornings
10,000 children hospitalised every year for dental extractions under general anaesthetic
Shocking new figures indicate that up to 10,000 children under the age of 15 are being hospitalised for dental extractions under general anaesthetic every year in Ireland.
The Irish Dental Association (IDA) has described the revelations as a national disgrace.
IDA President Dr Anne Twomey said thousands of young children with chronic dental infection, many of whom require multiple extractions, are waiting up to 12 months for treatment.
“Some 95% of these cases would have been avoidable if they had been detected and treated earlier. The reason they weren’t is because of Government cuts to family dental supports since 2010, the constant undermining of what had been a highly effective schools screening service, and the fact that too many of our young people have a poor diet containing too much sugar,” she said.
Dr Twomey said the second question that needed to be addressed was why young people with serious infections are being forced to wait between six and 12 months for treatment.
“The closure of the walk-in clinic in St James’s Hospital in Dublin means waiting lists for general anaesthetic services in Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare are 12 months. Waiting periods around the country are typically six to nine months. The issue is compounded by the fact that dental cases are not included on hospital priority lists, so theatre slots for dental cases are being cancelled on a regular basis in favour of other paediatric cases. Our concern is that general anaesthetic services for dentistry will not become a priority until a child has a serious outcome from dental infection,” she concluded.
Mouth cancer self-check from the Mouth Cancer Foundation
The Mouth Cancer Foundation in the UK has come up with a simple head and neck cancer check that can be carried out by anyone at home, at any time, but ideally once per month.
The aim of 'Bite Back at Mouth Cancer' is to show members of the public what to look for and how to seek help if they find something out of the ordinary.
Face: Look at the whole face. Are there any swellings you haven't noticed before? Inspect your skin. Has anything changed recently? Have moles become larger or started to itch or bleed? Turn your head from side to side. This stretches the skin over the muscles, making lumps easier to see.
Neck: Run your fingers under your jaw and feel along the large muscle on either side of your neck using the balls of your fingers. Are there any swellings? Does everything feel the same on both sides?
Lips: Use your index, middle fingers and thumb to feel the inside of your mouth. Pull your upper lip upwards and bottom lip downwards to look inside for any sores or changes in colour. Use your thumb and forefinger to feel around and inside your lips checking for any lumps, bumps or changes in texture.
Gums: Use your thumb and forefinger on the inside and outside of the gum working your way around the gum to feel for anything unusual.
Check your cheeks: Open your mouth and pull your cheeks away, one side at a time, with your finger to look inside. Look for any red or white patches. Use your finger in the cheek to check for ulcers, lumps or tenderness. Repeat on the other side. Your tongue can be helpful to locate sore areas, ulcers or rough patches.
Tongue: Gently pull out your tongue and look at one side first and then the other. Look for any swelling, ulcer or change in colour. Examine the underside of your tongue by lifting the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
Floor of mouth: Lift your tongue up and look underneath then look at the floor of your mouth for any unusual colour changes. Gently press your finger along the floor of your mouth and underside of your tongue to feel for any lumps, swellings or ulcers.
Roof of mouth: Tilt back your head and open your mouth wide to check the roof of your mouth. Look to see if there are changes in colour or ulcers. Check for changes in texture with your finger.
Tooth decay risk doubles in children exposed to second-hand smoke
Exposure to second-hand smoke at four months of age is associated with an increased risk of tooth decay at age three years, concludes a study published recently in The British Medical Journal.
While caries prevention in young children generally focuses on sugar restriction, oral fluoride supplementation and fluoride varnish, some studies have suggested that second-hand smoke plays a role. Second-hand smoke may directly affect teeth and microorganisms in a number of ways, including inflammation of the oral membrane, damage to the salivary gland function and a decrease in serum vitamin C levels, as well as immune dysfunction.
A team of researchers in Japan wanted to know whether maternal smoking during pregnancy and exposure of infants to tobacco smoke at the age of four months would increase the risk of caries in deciduous teeth.
The team analysed data for 76,920 children born between 2004 and 2010, who attended routine health check-ups at 0, four, nine and 18 months, and at three years of age, at healthcare centres in Kobe City, Japan. Mothers completed questionnaires about second-hand smoke exposure from pregnancy to three years of age, and other lifestyle factors, such as dietary habits and oral care.
Incidence of caries in deciduous teeth was defined as at least one decayed, missing or filled tooth assessed by qualified dentists.
Compared with having no smokers in the family, exposure to tobacco smoke at four months of age was associated with an approximately twofold increase in the risk of caries.