This was the shocking headline in one of the national newspapers recently above an article that claimed most children now need between four and eight of their baby teeth extracted, although some are having to have all 20 taken out. The article also said that figures show more than a quarter of five-year olds have some degree of tooth decay.
A spokesman for the British Dental Health Foundation said: “It all relates to the consumption of sugary, fizzy drinks.”
However, at Carisbrook Dental we think that is too broad a statement and in our experience, although we have also seen a sharp rise in the amount of infant tooth decay, we believe that many parents, in an attempt to provide a healthy diet for their children are now giving them more and more fresh and dried fruit snacks instead of sweets and chocolate (five a day and all that). Although they are attempting to do the right thing they simply do not realise the high sugar content of the fruits and the result is that they are simply substituting sugar for sugar and children are happily snacking on it all day long.
The moral is ‘everything in moderation’, or better still try to restrict sugar intake to mealtimes.
As dentists we always recommend early-years dental examinations where we can spot early signs of tooth damage and can provide the appropriate treatment along with the correct guidance and advice.
We are particularly concerned about the level of baby teeth extractions required, usually performed under a general anaesthetic, which in itself poses considerable, possibly even fatal risks to a small child.
Baby teeth also act as a guide for the later adult teeth, so when they are missing there is a strong possibility that the later teeth will develop in a haphazard way, probably requiring extensive orthodontic treatment at a future date.
Our advice is to restrict the level of sugary snacks and fizzy drinks. Brush their teeth at least twice a day using a good fluoride toothpaste and most importantly – take your children to visit their dentist on a regular basis.
If you are concerned about your child’s teeth or just want to ensure that they remain healthy, why not contact us to arrange an appointment.