Recent figures have revealed that over 40,000 children per year are having rotten teeth extracted in hospitals across the U.K. and doctors have even christened the trend “the costly scourge of sugar”.
You may have seen various articles in the press about the figures which were obtained by the Local Government Association and which showed that show that 40,800 under-18s in England had at least one tooth taken out last year under general anaesthetic because of decay. The children involved had such advanced decay that they could not be treated by a dentist and had to go to hospital instead.
All of this has obviously led to calls for the government to introduce curbs or further taxes on sugar (in addition to the ones announced for sugary drinks). In fact, around the same time as these figures were released Public Health England launched a challenge to businesses to cut sugar by 20% by 2020, and by 5% this year. However that is purely a recommendation and not a regulation.
At London Holistic Dental Centre we are particularly dedicated to the dental health of our young patients as we believe the foundations for having a healthy smile for life are set in childhood. And we believe that any improvement in the health of children’s teeth must begin at home with both a good care routine and also a diet which is low in sugar.
So how do you start caring for the dental health of your child from day one? It goes without saying that regularly bringing them for a dental health check is crucial. We’d recommend their first appointment is in the few months after their first tooth appears and certainly no later than around their first birthday. This often comes as a surprise to parents however the analogy we like to use is that architects don’t ignore the foundations of a building and purely focus on the later stages of the design and functionality. Your teeth are the same; the early years are the foundations on which a lifetime of good teeth and healthy gums are built.
As your child gets older and their second teeth appear there are options including fluoride treatments and fissure sealants which can help to prevent cavities and the need for fillings in their teenage years.
We will soon be releasing videos on our YouTube channel which will show the best way for children to brush their teeth and you should supervise them until the age of seven.
Obviously all of this should take place against a backdrop of eating less sugar. At the practice we are grateful that the media has finally started to make this cause heard on a grand scale as we directly see the impact on children’s teeth.
Be sure to look out for our next blog in two weeks’ time which will outline exactly what sugar does to the mouth and body and why it’s one of the silent and deadly killers. The blog will also feature some of the products which people would be shocked include sugar.