As a first step, the researchers have developed an educational CD-ROM to help physicians make appropriate recommendations about fluoride use and other oral health matters. The CD-ROM will be used as part of a continuing medical education course at Wayne State University in Detroit and will be distributed to physicians at federally funded health care centers in the Detroit area.
KIDS AND CAVITIES---MORE THAN A TOOTHACHE. Children who get cavities in their baby teeth---known as early childhood caries or baby bottle tooth decay---suffer more than just an occasional toothache, a study by pediatric dentistry graduate student Sara L. Filstrup has found. They often suffer loss of sleep, impaired concentration, and even a poorer social life.
Filstrup and colleagues interviewed children ages 2 to 6 years who had severe dental caries. The children reported that mouth pain frequently kept them awake at night, interfered with their ability to pay attention in school, and prevented them from eating. In fact, research shows that such children typically weigh only 80 percent as much as other children their age. Their parents, too, reported that the children's oral health problems kept them from playing with other kids and disrupted their sleep. When dentists examined the children's mouths, they found that kids whose parents reported the most quality of life problems had the most severe dental problems.
The children's tooth decay was treated; then their parents were quizzed again four weeks later. "The difference was like night and day," says Associate Professor Marita Inglehart, who collaborated with Filstrup on the work. "The parents said their kids were happier, could play better, and slept through the night."