By Patrick Musisi, Mukono
A leading dentist in Mukono has given tips to parents on denbtal health best practices among children, including safe medication, feeding habits and general dental care.
In an interview with our reporter on Tuesday at his clinic, Dr. Drake Kizito of Smile Dental Clinic in Mukono told Watchdog Uganda that the trend has changed with more children being diagnosed with dental problems than used to be the case in the past.
He attributed this to too much use of foods and medicines that are rich in sugar, with too much glucose known to be very attractive to teeth destroying germs.
“In the past, treatment for some ailments like upset stomachs and influenza among children was almost fully herbal which kept away active ingredients like chlorophenical, tertacycline and others in syrups, known to cause stuntedness to the enamel”, Dr. Kizito noted.
He also blamed premature discontinuation of breastfeeding especially by mothers wishing to return to work, and switching babies on to foods, saying it denies them lactose-rich mothers’ breast milk, adding that often, sugars are added to the babies’ foods to make it attractive.
The dental surgeon cautioned pregnant mothers against certain prescriptions that affect the unborn babies’ physical development, saying in the long run it affects teeth growth.
He advised parents to avoid vitamin-deficient foods likely to cause malaria and in effect cause sores in children’s mouths, hence making it impossible for them to brush their teeth, in addition to more application of syrups.
Dr. Kizito said that in the face of all this, many people including adults, desist bitter drugs and opt for sweet-coated orals, adding, “in addition, today all groceries and other foods come from supermarkets – cookies, biscuits, juices, name it”.
He also noted that drinking water especially in towns has chlorine added as a preservative which if taken in excess darkens the teeth, and added that a lot of medicines kill the nerves and weaken the teeth, making them vulnerable to decay and breaking.
He disclosed that today, the general practice is deliberate erosion  of fissures (corrugated features in the molars), to limit chances of collecting food pieces, and advised for increased use of foods like sugar cane and hard fried maize, instead of soft ones like ice cream, cakes and others in that category.