Tooth decay in children has reached a crisis point in the UK, according to the dean of the Royal College of Surgeons’ dental faculty. Professor Nigel Hunt is worried that the amount of children suffering from tooth decay is going to continue to increase unless something drastic is done to stop rapid sugar consumption.
The Scary Statistics
Professor Hunt believes the amount of children needing to go to dental hospitals for “full-blown general anaesthetics for extraction” has reached a crisis point. “Almost 26000 general anaesthetics are being given to five to nine year-old children every year to have teeth out now. At many centres, children are having to wait six months to have a general anaesthetic and there is one, in fact, that is over a year.”
46500 children were admitted last year to have teeth removed due to decay. Professor Hunt said these figures were frightening and hospitals are having to perform extra operations on evenings and weekend to meet the demand.
A Packaging Solution
One solution that might reduce these statistic is changing the packaging on certain sugary and fizzy products. Professor Hunt believes soft drinks and sweets should be labelled with serious warnings and images, similar to those found on cigarettes and tobacco products. “In the same way as we have with smoking, that smoking can cause lung cancer and so on, we should be saying high levels of sugar will lead to not only poor oral health and decay but the impact on general health. Pictures always have a greater impact.”
Vital Dentist Visits
A Department of Health spokesman said the department has asked for expert advice about the amount of sugar people should be eating and will take this into account as they continue to work on their childhood obesity strategy. The spokesman strongly recommended that parents take their children for regular check-ups at their local dentist to ensure these statistics are reduced.