Worrying statistics for infant oral health

April 4th, 2017

The BBC reported this week on the worrying state of oral health for the youngest members of our population. The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons has pulled together data which suggests that thousands of young children are needing removal of their milk teeth each year.

The data shows that, between April 2015 and March 2016, almost ten thousand teeth were removed from children aged four and younger. This is just under 2000 more cases of tooth extraction than those that took place for the same age group ten years ago, therefore showing a big increase, and one which is not in line with what you would expect in terms of population growth.

Despite worrying figures for the four years and under age group, the story was not quite so bad when the total number of extractions was considered for the age group of nine years and under: this total was actually approximately 800 extractions lower than for the previous year.

So, what could be causing these worrying statistics? Lead Researcher Professor Nigel Hunt is quoted by the BBC as saying that the ‘sweet habits’ of our children are to blame. Professor Hunt goes on to explain that roughly 9 out of 10 cases of tooth decay (which can lead to the need for tooth removal) could be prevented if:

  • The amount of sugar consumed is reduced
  • Teeth are brushed regularly
  • Routine visits to the dentist are carried out

As well as encouraging healthier oral hygiene habits at home, Public Health England are also striving for better outcomes for our children and young people. They are working with the food industry to reduce the sugar that is contained within foods that children commonly eat, such as breakfast cereals and yoghurts.

If you’re at all concerned about the oral health of your child, why not book them in for a check-up? We’re happy to take a look and talk you through steps you can take to support your little one to maintain a healthy smile.

For more information and the full BBC article, please visit their website.

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