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Learn About Kids Dental Care in Tokyo, Japan

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Children Health Care or Dental Care in Tokyo, Japan

Something that a lot of us as foreign parents in Japan are amazed at is the amount of candy Japanese mothers feed their kids – especially in public, for example on the trains and in supermarkets. It would appear that the need to keep the kids orderly and quiet supersedes any health issues and so at the first whine from the stroller, out comes the candy. We are able to only assume that how are you affected in public is probably continued to some extent at home and so you have to wonder if this sounds like setting an extremely negative diet pattern of these kids later on in life.

Kids Dental Care

It’s no real surprise, then, that Japanese kids possess a relatively high incidence of dental caries and other tooth problems (measured as DMFT: Decayed, Missing, and Filled Teeth) when compared with other developed nations. For instance, in 2005, the DMFT for Japanese 12-year olds was 1.7, in contrast to Australia’s 0.8. But at least the situation gets better than it was. Back in 1987, the DMFT was 4.9 – higher than normal by today’s standards. Obviously, those people who were 12 in 1987 are actually in their early 30’s and paying the price at the dentist.

It’s interesting that the rate of caries originates down so much, and scientists aren’t sure why. Even though you could point to fluoridation, actually there has been very few new fluoride treatment programs launched in Japan over the last 3 decades and in fact most regions of Japan are against fluoridation (although Tokyo adds 8mg/ltr of fluoride to the water supply). So the probably reason for better teeth should be increased parent education and the creation of painless preventive dentistry.

I had been reading that probably another Japan-specific reason behind fewer cavities is the disappear in the habit of feeding kids from the mouths of the parents or grandparents. It’s long been a Japanese tradition for the mother or grandmother to “pre-chew” a baby’s food, before popping it in to the children mouth. We now know through Paternity testing that doing this will literally double the presence of S. mutans and S. sobrinus bacteria in the child’s mouth and thus increase the child’s probability of dental caries later in life.

Dental Care in Tokyo, Japan

Dental care During

But an adequate amount of kids, what about people who are working? Dental care during the day has become a lot easier because of the Japanese penchant for functional foods. Try purpose-made teeth cleaning gums, that are admittedly a bit tough to chew, or one of the newer Xylitol brands. Just don’t go way too hard on the Xylitol, because it may have a laxative effect!

Tooth brushes- Mornings & Evenings

Back in your own home in the mornings and evenings, now you can buy ultrasonic tooth brushes here in Japan. The original, and best in my estimation, is the Phillips unit, which emits ultrasonic waves from the brush visit dislodge plaque around the teeth. Braun and National brand products seem reasonably good, too, although I haven’t used them. If you’re still utilizing a manual brush, you should attempt an ultrasonic electric one – you’ll never return. I was particularly pleased whenever a new dentist inquired about where I was getting my teeth cleaned (meaning which clinic)

Go to Dentist

We all need to visit the dentist regularly, preferably every 6 months. Although of us put off those visits until we’re on holidays back in our very own home country, the truth is that Japan is extremely well serviced by technically competent dentists. Indeed, in 2004 there have been roughly 95,000 dentists, 230,000 dental nurses, and 73,000 dental hygienists taking care of the nation’s teeth. This means about one dentist per 1,330 people. If you get a tooth ache in the middle of the night, you ought to be able to find someone in your neighborhood who can look after you.

Japanese dentists

Having said that, older Japanese dentists in many cases are not so sensitive to the patients pain and fear thresholds, and if you’re much like me, you’re a wimp in the dentist chair. Because of this, when I move to a brand new area, I look for a dentist skilled in taking care of kids, because that always means they know how to give injections painlessly and to consider it easy on a deeper cavity. There are several good English-speaking dentists around too, and you can find these on the Internet having a quick search.

Japanese Health Insurance

The best thing to note is that dental care is included by the Japanese health insurance, as long as you’re not using “luxury” treatments for example ceramic inlays and such like. Which means you pay the first 30% of the bill, and the government pays the rest. Dentistry is technically well advanced in Japan, so that they moved to modern resins and composite materials earlier. I recently went to a brand new Japanese dentist for any check up and he was surprised I still had a lot old amalgam in my mouth. Without hesitation, he recommended I recieve all my old fillings changed for any more up-to-date material, for both health reasons and aesthetically. I’d thought about doing this home but was always delay by the cost. Throughout his consultation, I bit the bullet and said OK. Three weeks later I’ve no amalgam left and the bill for every resin filling was just JPY1, 500 or so – a great deal in anyone’s language

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