More and more toddlers suffer from tooth decay

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Feeding bottle caries: Dentists alarmed about increased caries in young children

Dentists are alarmed about the increase in tooth decay in toddlers under three years of age. The deciduous tooth decay has continued to increase in recent years. Dentist organizations are now calling for early checkups. Health insurance companies react with a lack of understanding.

Up to 15 percent of toddlers suffer from carotid bottle caries Although caries diseases in children and adolescents are declining in Germany, early childhood dental diseases have been rising among those under three years of age. Dietmar Oesterreich, Vice President of the Federal Dental Association (BZÄK) explained that about ten to 15 percent of toddlers now suffer from such a so-called baby bottle caries. Christian Splieth, President of the German Society for Pediatric Dentistry, said that milk teeth or roots had to be filled in two and three year olds. According to the National Dental Association (KZBV), "Caries is the most common chronic disease in preschool children." Children of parents who have no or low school qualifications and children from families with a migration background are particularly affected. Not all children at risk could be reached through group prophylaxis in the kindergartens.

Healthy milk teeth important for later dentition Many parents think that dental care of milk teeth is not so important because they fail anyway. Healthy milk teeth, however, form the basis for healthy teeth in adulthood. According to expert opinion, toddlers are often particularly at risk of tooth decay not only because of the sugar content of numerous children's foods, but also because of the consistency of the food they eat. For example, many small children receive ready-made food or children's food that is administered in liquid or porridge and is hardly chewed. With regard to the development of caries, this should be assessed rather negatively, since chewing represents a certain self-cleaning of the teeth and porridge-like food promotes the formation of dental plaque.

Particularly risk from sweetened drinks The teeth of children who are constantly sucking on a bottle of sweetened drinks such as sugared tea are at particular risk. Because this constantly sweeps your teeth with sugar. This early-onset, but easily avoidable disease, is also referred to as a sucking or sucking bottle caries. If the diseased teeth are not treated, this can lead to premature tooth loss in addition to toothache, fistulas or abscesses, as well as negative consequences for later teeth. Splieth emphasized that milk tooth caries was “often very painful” for the young children affected. In addition, the early loss of milk teeth affects "the chewing ability, hinders the language development and development of the permanent teeth". In addition, the children would often have to be treated under anesthesia.

Early detection check-up is too late In view of the increase in caries in young children, medical representatives are now demanding significantly earlier check-ups at the dentist. In the future, children should come to the practice for early detection examinations from the age of six, i.e. with the breakthrough of the first milk teeth, the German Dental Association (BZÄK) and the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Dentists (KZBV) in Berlin said. Until now, these checks have only been provided in statutory health insurance for children aged two and a half. The CEO of the KZBV, Dr. Wolfgang Eßer criticized: "That is clearly too late."

New joint care concept developed In order to counteract tooth decay in small children efficiently, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Dentists and the Federal Chamber of Dentists have developed a care concept together with the Federal Association of Pediatric Dentists (BuKiZ), the German Midwifery Association (DHV) and under the scientific supervision of the University of Greifswald. Under the title "Avoid early childhood tooth decay", they demand that three systematic early dental examinations be introduced for "toddlers between the ages of 6 and 30" and documented in the "yellow booklet" for medical children's examinations. These early diagnoses should include "preventive and health education measures." The KZBV reports that all children should be given the new concept "the same chances for a healthy dental life".

Health insurance companies react with lack of understanding Professor Dr. Dietmar Oesterreich explained the aim of the new concept: “We have an ambitious goal. In 2020, 80 percent of 6-year-olds should be caries-free. ”The developed approach would show health policy and health insurance companies possible solutions to the existing health care problem. However, the umbrella organization of statutory health insurance (GKV) reacted with incomprehension to the demands of the dentists. As the deputy association spokeswoman Ann Marini explained, there is not "the one, all-changing measure" to reduce early childhood tooth decay. "Rival concepts from different medical professorships don't help here." The statutory health insurance companies would see no reason to shake the traditional pension system. "Precisely because tooth decay is not a continuous problem in small children, but only occurs in certain groups of parents, the classic early diagnosis examinations should remain with the pediatrician," says Marini. (ad)

Image: Claudia Heck /

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