Are parents to blame for the high number of child tooth extractions caused by decay?
Public Health England (PHE) recently published some worrying stats on children’s dental health: nearly nine out of 10 hospital tooth extractions caused by preventable tooth decay are carried out on children aged up to five years old. Moreover, tooth extraction is still the most common hospital procedure in six to 10-year-olds.
In a bid to curb the growing problem, PHE is encouraging parents to swap children’s sugary foods and drinks for healthier alternatives. Parents are also encouraged to protect children’s teeth by using fluoride toothpaste and to pay more attention to their children’s dental health in general.
Tooth decay is a serious issue. It causes problems with eating and sleeping but also results in at least 60,000 missed school days across the country. In order to help families, PHE has created the Change4Life campaign, which encourages parents to switch to lower sugar alternatives. For instance, by reducing the intake from everyday products such as fizzy drinks, breakfast yogurts and cereals.
What the campaign encourages parents to do:
- Swap sugary drinks and snacks such as split-pot yoghurts for lower or no sugar alternatives, including lower-sugar yoghurts or no-added sugar juice drinks. The Change4Life website has plenty of easy ‘sugar swaps’ and helpful tips for families.
- Limit fruit juice and smoothies to a total of 150ml per day and only consume with meals – they count as a maximum of one portion of our five a day.
- Ensure children brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste (once before bedtime and once in the morning) and remind them to, “spit not rinse,” as rinsing washes away the protective fluoride. Brushing should start as soon as the first tooth appears.
Dental health is just as important as the rest of the body’s condition. A child should have at least one annual check up at the dentist, and keep a decent dental hygiene. If you love you kid’s smile, take care of it.