No Pain, More Pain? Anesthetics May Harm Kids’ Teeth

tooth extractionThere’s a good reason for kids to avoid tooth extractions—and it’s not the pain before or after the procedure or the terrifying drill sounds.

A new study suggests that the use of local anesthetics in dental treatments may affect tooth cell growth, thus hindering complete tooth development.

When Pain Killers Kill Cells

The study authors took samples of pig teeth and pulp cells taken from the permanent teeth of young patients and administered the maximum dosage of different local anesthetics. They found that prolonged exposure to high dosages of local anesthetics affected functionality of the mitochondria.With grave effects on the powerhouse of the cell, the teeth weaken and triggers a cell death mechanism called “autophagy.”

As researchers concluded, local anesthetic may have a severe impact on children’s teeth both in cellular and molecular levels. They however explained that the findings don’t intend to raise anxiety among parents or encourage postponing treatments, if children need it.

Ultimately, they wanted their research to be useful in improving clinical guidelines in the use of local anesthetics, at the same time, reminding parents to help kids achieve and maintain good oral health to reduce the need for dental surgery, like tooth extractions.

Health Begins at Home

Family dentists say that children are at a risk for developing dental caries as soon as the teeth first start to appear.Starting with good dental health habits and prioritizing dental visits are important.

Infants and toddlers are vulnerable to Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. This results in long-term exposure to liquids that contain high amounts of sugar, like milk. When these sugars remain too long in teeth and gums, they feed bacteria in the mouth and form plaque. Over time, this causes tooth decay.

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Make sure to clean baby’s mouth with clean, moist washcloth after feeding milk. For children aged three to six years, brush their teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and pea-sized smear of fluoride toothpaste.

Tell them to floss daily as well. There may be food debris stuck between teeth and under the gumline. If these are not removed, it can harden into tartar and may be difficult to remove, unless with professional help.

Local anesthetics can severely affect child’s tooth development. Protect them from dental health problems by encouraging good oral hygiene.