80 pc of city kids need to go see a dentist

Express News Service

Mumbai, November 11, 2003: It’s not something to smile about. Nearly 80 per cent of school-going children in Mumbai suffer from dental problems.

Even as India leads with the number of dental colleges, a survey conducted by the Indian Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry has found that it lags far behind in oral health. ‘‘The problem is the worst in children under 14,’’ said Dr S G Damle, joint municipal commissioner (Health and Education) of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

In India, 70-75 per cent of the 30 crore children suffer from tooth problems. Thirty-five to 40 per cent have crooked teeth and 20 per cent have gum problems. In Mumbai, of the total 40-50 lakh children under 14, 80 per cent have dental problems and the percentage is rising.

According to the survey, the main cause is replacement of breast feeding with bottle feeding. ‘‘If the milk teeth are healthy, the permanent teeth will also be in good condition. But with today’s hectic schedules, infants are often bottle-fed, which is not advisable,’’ said Dr Damle.

An international conference at a city hotel is being held on Saturday to hold discussions on the increasing dental problems in developing countries. ‘‘Western countries have, to a great extent, solved this problem but here the picture is grim. We have to tackle this problem at the earliest”.

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