CHILDREN are more at risk of tooth decay than adults, new research into the Fiji's number one oral health problem reveals.
The 10-year-old research — The National Oral Health Survey 2004, revealed this during the Fiji Dental Association Conference over the weekend.
The survey revealed while tooth decay affected 79.3 per cent of adults, child oral health recorded an alarming 88.3 per cent among children aged six years.
Colgate oral care professional relations co-ordinator Dr Naina Kau said tooth decay was a serious concern for the country.
She said while tooth decay had declined globally since the 1970s, data from the Ministry of Health indicated an increase in the disease.
Dr Kau said since 1998, an increasing trend in tooth decay had become apparent among six-year-olds in Fiji and it was now Fiji's most common oral health problem.
"If left untreated, tooth decay can lead to serious health issues, such as infection and loss of teeth," Dr Kau said.
"With such potentially painful effects, why is tooth decay still reported as Fiji's most common oral health problem? It doesn't have to be this way — we believe no one should accept the condition as inevitable as it can be easily prevented with a healthy diet and proper dental care."
She said parents needed to ensure their child maintained a proper oral health care routine.
"We know that brushing twice a day drops off in the late teens as indicated in the last National Oral Health Survey report as children start a new phase of their lives, leaving high school, starting university or work, moving out of home.
"But I cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring your child maintains a proper oral health care routine."