The Kiwi dentist with a new approach to treating tooth decay in children

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A Kiwi dentist thinks we should ditch convention and start looking at tooth care in children when they're still babies.

A new study has found 6000 Kiwi kids needed hospital treatment for severe decay in just one year.
Source: Seven Sharp

Professor Mark Gussy says the earlier we identify possible teeth problems the better.

"If you have tooth decay as a child its predictive of lifetime cavities," Professor Gussy told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

New tests mean dentists are able to check for tooth decay in babies who don't have teeth yet by testing their saliva.

The test looks at the mix of bugs in the babies mouth as a way to predict any possibilities of decay later on.

"Two is too late (for checkups) once diet is established at two that's it. We are interested in the first year or two of life," Professor Gussy said.

The test is aimed at preventing problems before school starts and Rhode Street School in Hamilton is on-board with the oral hygiene revolution, banning fizzy drinks and other sugary treats.

This kind of action is welcome in New Zealand with a study out this week showing over 6000 Kiwi kids needed hospital treatment for severe decay in just one year.

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