Children are among some of the most vulnerable to tooth decay. Some believe that tooth decay today is worse than it has ever been, while others insist that it is actually getting better. While it is true that tooth decay has been declining since the 1970s thanks to improved dental care and techniques, it is not a perfectly consistent trend.
One study performed by the NHS shows that tooth decay among children aged five and under has actually increased by as much as 24% since 2006. Between 2014 and 2015, there were 14,445 admissions for dental extractions across the country. Children are losing their milk teeth before they have had a chance of falling out naturally.
Who is the Culprit?
Why are children’s teeth developing dental caries at such a young age? Who is the culprit? The answer is mostly sugar.
Children today are exposed to much more sugar in their diets than before. The popularity of chocolates, sweets, flavoured fruit drinks and fizzy drinks means that more children are eating food high in sugar.
A high sugar diet has devastating effects on the enamel, leading to rotten teeth and bad breath. Children today are also more likely to snack between meals.
On top of that, many parents do not bring their toddlers to a dentist until they are older. One NHS statistic mentions that up to 42% of children under 18 have not seen the dentist in over two years.
What can you do to protect your children’s teeth?
Even though tooth decay is common among children, it is important to do your part as a parent to protect your children’s teeth.
Children need their teeth not only so that they can eat their food and enjoy a well-balanced and nutritious diet, but baby teeth also serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth. Children who have missing teeth are more likely to get crooked teeth, as there is no support structure that keeps them evenly spaced out.
Something you can do to prevent tooth decay is to limit your children’s consumption of sugary foods. Instead of giving them chocolate, switch to fruit instead, such as bananas and apples. While these fruits are still sweet, they are still less damaging than chocolate.
Fruit juice, on the other hand, tends to have added sugar. Pick fruit drinks with less sugar, or try diluting them with water instead. You should also encourage your children to drink plain water, as this is better for teeth.
Good Dental Habits
As a dentist in Gainsborough, we encourage you to teach your children to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine. Have them brush twice a day thoroughly, for at least two minutes. It helps to have a timer in the bathroom to help your child count, or to teach them a two-minute song that they can sing in their heads until they finish brushing.
You should also bring your child to the dentist at least twice a year to ensure that their teeth are cared for.
For more information about dental health, contact Dee Kay Dental today.