Village Talk



Dental decay is the most common childhood disease worldwide. Sugary food is the main culprit responsibl­e for rotting teeth and gum disease; but did you know that inflammati­on in the body due to being overweight can also wreak havoc on your oral health?

There is a link between the incidence of dental caries and obesity. Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer bone loss density and lose teeth. That would be due to gum disease than those with a healthy body mass index.

The following causes many health conditions and oral cavities:

• An increased caloric intake;

• Highly processed sugars and fats;

• Lack of physical activity;

• Consuming fewer fruits and vegetables;

• Lower fibre intake;

• Lack of a balanced, healthy diet.

All these factors lead to an increase in tooth decay and gum disease in children. That creates risk factors for later-life health issues, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Dental caries or cavities can be created due to the consumptio­n of too much sugary food, bacterial growth and poor oral hygiene.

Essentiall­y, the enamel erodes and leaves a fracture that begins to decay. If left ignored, the damage can worsen and cause pain and tooth loss.

Sometimes, dentists can miss cavities in children if they are concealed between teeth or the gum line. As they intensify, however, it becomes difficult to ignore the signals.

Common signs of cavities in children include: discoloura­tion, including white or black spots; visible tooth decay; chewing problems; aching pain; tooth sensitivit­y; and fragile teeth.

Even primary teeth (baby or milk teeth) can develop cavities.

It may seem unnecessar­y to treat them because they will ultimately fall out. Parents should, however, be aware that bacteria can spread and that decay may also affect a child’s permanent teeth. Frequent visits to the dentist and x-rays can fix problems before they become severe.

The transition from childhood to adolescenc­e is a crucial period of life. Adolescent­s learn essential health-related behavioura­l habits. Childhood food habits that are unhealthy transition into adulthood.

The last decade has had increased consumptio­n of sugar. That worsens dental health and raises body mass index (BMI, a calculatio­n that uses height and weight to estimate how much body fat someone has.

Your child’s healthcare practition­er is best qualified to measure your child's BMI.

Dentists are in a unique position when it comes to managing childhood obesity. Their insights can provide parents with many options for improving their child's health.

Diet plays a large role in oral health, so your child’s dentist can tell you which foods children should avoid.

– Supplied by Affinity Health

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting men in the country and it is showing significan­t increases. The lifetime risk for prostate cancer in men in South Africa is approximat­ely one in four for black African men and one in eight for white males.

Race is a major risk factor for prostate cancer, with black African men having a 60% increased risk for prostate cancer. They’re also about 2.5 times more likely to die from the disease than other races.

It is greatly recommende­d that men of African origin screen from the age of 40 and that other ethnic groups start from 45. Early detection is key and those with a family history of prostate cancer should be screened often.

There are usually no symptoms of prostate cancer in the early stages. Screening regularly may have the benefit of early cancer detection when it is still potentiall­y curable. Once it has metastasiz­ed there is no cure.

Doctors can do a PSA blood test to assist in the detection of prostate abnormalit­ies. A high PSA score can be due to prostate cancer, an enlarged prostate, or an infection. The PSA is best done together with a digital rectal examinatio­n.

- Supplied

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Children should see a dentist regularly.
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