Reorganization of dental health care and a long-standing lack of preventive actions and promotions of oral health are the reasons which have placed Croatia among the countries with high DMFT Index. The transition of paediatric and preventive dental medicine specialists to a polyvalent dental medicine service resulted in a loss of systematic care regarding oral health, as well as monitoring and prevention of dental caries in children.
In order to improve dental health in Croatia, a Strategic plan to promote and protect the oral health was adopted in 2014 with the objectives to increase the percentage of healthy teeth in 5 – 6-year-olds at 60 percent, to reduce the DMFT Index of 12-year-olds to 3.5, increase the application of fluorine and remineralisation products and to improve oral hygiene and eating habits of the entire population.
The procedures that can prevent caries
- Regularly brushing teeth with a toothpaste containing fluoride
- Reducing the intake of food and drinks containing sugar
- Regular visits to your dentist
By brushing the teeth, you mechanically remove the deposits on the teeth, which, if are present for a longer time period, influence the formation of caries. The bacteria feed on sugars, decompose them, and during this process the acids are formed that lead to lowering the oral cavity pH and demineralization of the enamel, and finally dental caries. The most common places of dental caries development are occluded surfaces cavities on the posterior teeth and all the places that are difficult to clean and insufficiently cleaned, such as the space between the teeth or existing poor fillings in which the food is retained.
Regular oral hygiene includes brushing your teeth for about three minutes after every meal, with the emphasis on brushing all your teeth, especially the rear, and not just those in the visible region. In addition to the toothbrush, you should use a dental floss to clean between the teeth which are inaccessible with the tooth brush.
It is extremely important to visit a dentist every three to six months in order for the doctor to thoroughly inspect your teeth with the aim to prevent the unnoticed spread of caries, reduce pain and prevent possible infection of the dental pulp.
Children should be taught from childhood to form a habit of oral hygiene, daily toothbrushing and avoiding over-consumption of sweets, fizzy and other sweet drinks that may cause a long-term damage of teeth. From the outset of the teeth development, children should be regularly taken to a dental medicine doctor for an inspection to monitor the progress of teeth development.
In maintaining teeth health, it is important to eat healthy foods rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, whole grains and, in general, food that does not stick to your teeth and that takes longer time to chew, such as fruit and vegetables.
Through the implementation of comprehensive preventive measures, a significant progress can be achieved in improving the dental health, with timely remediation of existing caries cavities on primary or permanent teeth, which over a period of time should lead to a reduction in the number of cavities.