As thousands of youngsters return to school for the autumn term, dental surgeons are calling for the government to encourage all UK schools to go sugar-free in a bid to combat tooth decay. Here’s why caring for your child’s teeth from an early age is so important.
Children’s oral health: Some uncomfortable statistics
Although oral health is improving in England, we still have a long way to go. According to recent government figures:
- 41% of under-18s didn’t visit an NHS dentist last year.
- Almost 9 out of 10 hospital tooth extractions among children aged 0-5 are due to preventable tooth decay.
- At least 60,000 school days are missed throughout the year due to hospital extractions alone.
- Tooth extraction is the most common hospital procedure in children aged 6-10.
What can schools do?
Officials at the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England have produced a report with 12 recommendations for schools, including the introduction of supervised teeth-brushing schemes, limiting advertising for high-sugar products, and eliminating sugar from school meals. Prof Michael Escudier, dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: “It is incredibly worrying that levels of tooth decay among children in England remain so high – especially when you consider that it is almost entirely preventable through simple steps, such as brushing twice a day with appropriate-strength fluoride toothpaste, visiting the dentist regularly and reducing sugar consumption.”
What can parents do?
The most important thing that you as a parent can do for your child is to get them into a regular oral hygiene routine. Picking up the habit of looking after their teeth at a young age will set them up for a lifetime of good dental health. Bringing them for regular dental check-ups as soon as their first teeth come through helps to familiarise them with the process and be comfortable in the dentist’s chair.
Children’s dentistry at Cliftonville
At Cliftonville, we are exceptionally child-friendly and do our best to make sure our young patients feel as relaxed as possible throughout their visit. Our friendly, caring team members spend extra time talking though each procedure, so your child knows what is happening and feels safe while they are in the dentist’s chair. We can show them the correct way to brush and keep an eye on any potential issues to ensure they get the best possible start in life with regards to their dental health.
If you would like to make an appointment for yourself or your child, please contact one of our friendly team members or book online today. We look forward to your visit.