Prof. Dr. Willyanti S. Syarief., Drg., Sp Ped. KGA (K).: “Oral and Dental Conditions Affect Maternal Fetal Health”

[, 31/10/2016] Not many people realize that maintaining dental and oral health for a child needs to be done as early as possible. In fact, it is very important to maintain healthy teeth and mouth are primed in childhood, because oral health in childhood is a reflection of the state of oral health in the future.

Prof.  Dr. Willyanti Soewondo Syarief., drg., Sp Ped. KGA (K). (Foto oleh: Tedi Yusup)*
Prof. Dr. Willyanti Soewondo Syarief., drg., Sp Ped. KGA (K). (Photo by Tedi Yusup)*

“Good oral and dental will affect the child’s future” said Professor of Children’s Dentistry Faculty of Dentistry (FKG), Universitas Padjadjaran, Prof. Dr. Willyanti Soewondo Syarief., Drg., Sp Ped. KGA (K).

According to Prof. Willy, attempts for good oral and dental health may be resorted as early as the fetal stage during pregnancy planning and pregnancy. It is recommended that before and during pregnancy, the mothers to pay a regular visit to the dentist to maintain the health of their teeth and mouth.

Prof. Willy explained that oral and dental health in pregnant women will affect that of the unborn children. The oral and dental conditions of the mother, for example, if she has gingivitis or tooth decay, the bacteria would affect the fetus through the placenta that would result in premature birth or low-weight birth. Such conditions would then risk the growth of the child’s teeth such as, the lack of calcification that would make the teeth easily porous and hypoplasia (abnormal tooth structure).

“That’s why pregnant women must take a good care of her health, so she would not give birth to premature babies or babies with low birth weight. It means a future for the baby’s oral and dental health, “said Prof. Willy is now also serving as head of the Department of Children’s Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, Universitas Padjadjaran.

Moreover, if the mother has a lot of caries, let alone rotten teeth, germs will be transmitted to the newborns. Prof. Willy also found that a mother with good habits of maintaining healthy teeth and mouth usually passes these habits to the children, and vice versa.

“Mothers who are at high risk of caries will affect the condition of children’s teeth by transferring germs and bad habits,” said Prof. Willy.

A premature or born with low birth weight child is suggested to be immediately taken to the dentist when the first tooth has grown. This needs to be done to reduce the risk of dental caries.

To avoid any risk of dental and oral diseases, a mother or expectant mother would have to start maintaining her oral and dental health since the second trimester of pregnancy. Prof. Willy also advises pregnant women to take fluoride as supplement. “For the child to be susceptible to dental caries” she said.

prof-wiliyanti-fkg-2-tediNewborn child can instantly be predictable about the potential for tooth decay or structural abnormalities. It can be seen, among others, from the baby’s birth weight, and whether there is malnutrition during pregnancy or not. In addition, pregnant women who often experience high fever can impair the growth and development of the child’s teeth. Another factor, from social perspective, is the parents’ low income.

“The four factors can be examined even since the first tooth has not shown yet: the birth weight, the mother’s prenatal health, the type of low birth weight, nutritional deficiencies and income under the minimum wage. There has been scoring to determine the probabilities of good and bad teeth,” said Prof. Willy.

After the child is born, although not at high risk of caries, it does not mean that their dental health can be taken for granted. Therefore, it is suggested to avoid some of the bad habits that can potentially result in caries or structural abnormalities of the teeth, such as drinking milk from a bottle in the long term, especially with the sleeping position and careless cleaning. Other habits such as finger sucking habit in children above the age of 4 years, breathing through the mouth, and biting nails would affect their facial and jaw structure.

Prof. Willy said that after drinking milk, including breast milk, the child’s mouth should be cleaned. If not teething, the gums are cleaned using gauze pads or cotton bud and warm water. Meanwhile, if the child is teething, teeth can be immediately cleaned using a cotton bud or a baby toothbrush.

“So intervention to mouth and teeth should not wait until the child has a lot of teeth. The sooner the better, even before they are teething, “said she who was born in Bandung, December 18, 1954.

Prof. Willy also deplores that many parents consider dental caries in children as trivial. In fact, caries can be dangerous. If caries is not immediately given treatment, the disease can expand to a neural network and to the underlying tissue. Kids can experience a toothache, swollen gums, or other oral diseases. The child may have difficulty in eating, talking, or sleeping, and it would result in lower quality of life of the child. In addition, child can be at risk of premature deciduous teeth that would influence the structure of the permanent teeth.

“If the teeth are already perforated and die, and not acted upon, it could be a focus of infection. It is dangerous as focal infection would lead to other diseases, such as inflammation of the brain, inflammation of the heart, kidneys, skin, and others,” she added.

Deciduous teeth also have the potential of dental caries higher than the permanent teeth, because the primary teeth have thinner tissue and not as strong as the permanent ones. Thus, Prof. Willy also stressed that parents not underestimate caries in primary teeth of children.

“Primary teeth in children should not be underestimated, because it would affect the permanent teeth later on,” she said. *

Reported by Artanti Hendriyana / eh

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