Healthy-childIn his 13 years of practice in Dubai, Dr Roze said he has witnessed a concerning trend among some parents’ attitudes here.

“They tend to think baby teeth are not that important, but we need to change that perception,” he said.

Though baby teeth do not remain as a permanent fixture in the child’s mouth, they are susceptible to cavities.

“In many cases the germ lays just below the baby tooth and if it is not treated it can affect the permanent tooth.”

Alarmingly, about 3-4 patients also present at the clinic each week with problems relating to “baby bottle tooth decay”.

There are many factors which can cause this decay, but a common cause is the frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar – especially last thing at night to help a child sleep.

“This is a habit we need to change. If your child is adamant to have a drink before bed, give them water,” Dr Roze said.

For Emirati mother-of-four, Widad Abbas, she has practised good oral health with her kids since their early years.

“I know when babies drink juice from bottles they are prone to cavities. As a mother I don’t want small problems to lead to bigger issues so I’ve always stayed on top of their oral hygiene.”

Visiting the dentist every six months for a regular check-up, she said it also creates positive behaviours among her children.

With a 13-year-old, 10-year-old and two 5-year-olds to look after, she said her oldest is aware of the importance of keeping her mouth in check.

“She knows about Type 2 diabetes and the damaging effects poor food intake can have on your health. As a result she tries to limit the amount of sugar she eats and she makes sure she brushes twice a day.”

And with a limit on the amount of “junk food” allowed in the house, Abbas said she will continue to remain “selective” with the food she buys.

Dubai Health Authority’s 2013 report also showed that 62.5 per cent of 5 to 7-year-olds require treatment for cavities in the UAE.

So for Dr Roze, the promotion of better oral health among our children ultimately comes down to “parent responsibility”.