Tooth Decay: Getting to the Root of the Problem

Research by the Health and Social Care Information Centre indicates over 25,000 children between the ages of 5 and 9 have been admitted to hospital due to tooth decay – more than any other reason – which is a shocking statistic! This is a growing issue, especially among young children, and one that needs addressing right away. So why is it that oral health is improving, but tooth decay in children aged 5-9 has been rising in recent years?

There are a few reasons why oral health has not seen a decline; the increase in fluoridated water and better oral health maintenance being two big factors. However, the British Dental Health Foundation believes that parental neglect of a child’s basic oral hygiene principles is at the forefront of this tooth decay epidemic. For example, it is neglectful to not supervise children brushing their teeth twice a day with the use of a fluoride toothpaste. It is also neglectful to not manage a child’s diet by allowing them to constantly snack on sugary food and drink. Lastly, it is neglectful to not take children to the dentist from age 2 and a half, when their teeth start coming through.

Perhaps the most detrimental factor is the consumption of sugary food and drink, as this is one of the key reasons for dental decay. But it isn’t so much about the quantity of consumption – although this carries many health risks – it is how often sugary food and drink is consumed which heightens the risk of decay. Think about it like this: the more often children consume these sugary substances, the more their teeth are exposed, and the greater the risk that their teeth will decay.

The good news is that tooth decay is completely preventable, by adhering to these basic oral health principles. We recommend that everyone should brush their teeth for at least two minutes a day using a fluoride toothpaste, and cut down on how often sugary food and drink is consumed.

Don’t forget to visit your dentist regularly, and if you think your child might be suffering from tooth decay you can book a dental appointment here.

Featured image: makelessnoise / Flickr

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