Tariq Drabu on Tooth Decay in Children in the United Kingdom

The number of younger children with tooth decay has become a serious concern throughout the United Kingdom. Approximately five hundred children are being hospitalized for tooth extractions each and every week in the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom has such a high number of children suffering with tooth decay, but what many parents aren’t aware is that in addition to their teeth being damaged and causing unnecessary pain, new research has revealed that tooth decay in younger children can also slow growth.

With more than a quarter of the five year olds in the United Kingdom having tooth decay, I think it’s imperative that as dentists we take the time to educate parents, ensuring that they bring their children for routine dental appointments and adopt a good oral health routine at home, eliminating the risk of tooth decay in the future.

The number of children with tooth decay in the United Kingdom has increased by more than fourteen per cent in the past five years. A large portion of these cases is due to high sugar intake and fizzy drinks. Another thing that I find parents don’t realise is that a large number of fruit juices sold on the market today are overflowing with sugar, which increases the risk of tooth decay.

I believe that by educating parents and children the number of tooth decay cases in children under the age of sixteen can be reduced dramatically. Incorporating a healthy and well-balanced diet that is very limited in sugars can already make a difference. The fact is that most parents aren’t even aware of what their children are eating at school, so packing a healthy lunch can also be a way to eliminate sugars and improve the oral health in children throughout the country.

Taking oral health to the schools is another way to reduce the number of children suffering with tooth decay. This has already been introduced in certain areas and I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to teach the children the right oral health routine from a very early age. A routine they can use throughout their lives to keep their teeth and gums in good and healthy condition.

Parents need to also be aware that children need to start visiting their dentist from the minute their first tooth pushes through. Not many parents are aware how important this is, but the right oral health from that very first tooth can ensure good oral health moving forward.

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