Dental injuries are the most common among children, but are often left untreated, a study by the Oral Gealth Sciences Centre of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here has found.
During the study, conducted on 6,000 students of government schools in the city, teeth of children aged between 5 and 17 years were examined. Their history was also noted.
It was found that 9% schoolchildren in the city had a history of suffering dental injuries. Experts said such injuries were one of the most common among children. However, treatment was rare.
The study revealed that out of the children who had suffered a dental injury, only 6.15 % were taken for emergency care immediately after the injury. The study further found that out of these children, 8.61% were provided treatment, but it was delayed. "The rest didn't give any history of having undergone treatment for such injuries. If the remaining children were taken to the dental surgeon in time, their teeth could have been saved," said Dr Ashok Utreja, head, Oral Health Sciences Centre, PGIMER.
The study also found that out of the total injuries, 28.5% occurred at home, followed by 13% at school. The study also found that the children suffered these injuries when they were between the age of one and five years.
Interestingly, the study found that a dental trauma injury was more common among boys (10.18%) as against girls (7.85%).
When it came to the rural-urban divide, prevalence of traumatic injuries was more common among children from rural areas, where 11.98 % children were found suffering from dental traumatic injury, as against 8.49% in urban areas.
In rural areas, the cause of injury that was the most common was falling down from the rooftop, while flying a kite or from a tree while playing.
In urban areas, children mostly suffered such injuries after they fell down from bed.
Teeth can be kept alive for 30 to 60 minutes in milk
Guidelines on management of acute dental trauma among children say that if a tooth is completely dislodged from the gum, it should be kept in cold milk. The cold milk helps preserve the ligament fibers and keeps them from drying up. "In the UK, we have educated people that the moment a child suffers dental trauma, the teeth should be preserved in cold milk. A tooth preserved in cold milk can be transplanted even after more than 30 minutes," said Dr Monty Duggal, head, pediatric dental unit at Leeds Institute, UK. He is at PGIMER to attend a conference on dental trauma.
Those who suffered a dental injury 9%
Injured taken for treatment 6.15%
Here is the % of girls and boys who suffered a dental injury
Prevalence of traumatic dental injuries was more common among children from rural areas: