Anesthesia, Learning Disabilities and Cavities
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota reviewed the records of about 1,000 children born between 1976 and 1982, of which 350 had one or more surgeries with general anesthesia by age 2. They found that 37 percent of children who were exposed to general anesthesia during multiple surgeries had learning disabilities later in life, compared to 21 percent of children who had no surgeries. Most of the children received the anesthesia for routine medical procedures, such as inserting ear tubes to drain fluid.
The findings, which were published in the November 2011 issue of Pediatrics, support a previous study by the clinic and other animal studies that found a link between anesthesia and irreversible loss of brain cells and developmental issues.
Dr. David Warner, the study's senior author and a professor of anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic, stated on the Mayo Clinic's website that the findings do not definitively mean that anesthesia causes ADHD. "This is an observational study. A wide range of other factors might be responsible for the higher frequency of ADHD in children with multiple exposures. The findings certainly do suggest that further investigation into this area is warranted...."
Meanwhile, a New York Times article on March 6 reported that more and more dentists are using general anesthesia to treat severe dental decay in young children. It cites Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics showing the number of preschoolers with cavities has increased for the first time in 40 years. With children having as many as six to 10 cavities at a time, dentists often recommend using general anesthesia.
According to the article, the main reasons for the increase in cavities include sugary drinks at bedtime, the use of non-fluoridated bottled water rather than fluoridated tap water, parents' lack of awareness that children should visit a dentist by age 1 and non-enforcement when it comes to brushing teeth. The story noted numerous studies showing that children who undergo general anesthesia for dental decay will get cavities again.
First 5 LA promotes oral health care in young children and pregnant women through the Rethink Your Drink public awareness campaign about the dangers of sugar-sweetened drinks, Oral Health and Nutrition investments and tips and resources for parents and caregivers on the Ready. Set. Grow! on dental care for kids website.
As a parent, you know your child best. And if you have concerns (or know) that...Read More
Experts call poor oral health the number one childhood epidemic in the country. The...Read More
Young children, especially those who are abused or who have unhealthy relationships...Read More
Even as experts predict the worst of the flu epidemic could come this month, Dorothy...Read More
Pregnancy is not a reason to defer dental care, despite concerns that some oral...Read More
The grocery store outburst. We've all witnessed it. A red-faced toddler screaming...Read More
There are lots of places to get great tips on caring for your kids’ teeth, including...Read More
When mid-way through her pregnancy, Nicte Mack found out that her baby would be born...Read More