News reports last month highlighted how tooth decay has become a serious problem, not just for adults in the UK, but for children too. Statistics analysed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre revealed that over the past four years we have seen a rise of 10% in the number of children admitted to hospital with severe tooth decay. Since 2011, 128,000 decayed teeth have been removed from the nation’s children. What the statistics also revealed is that, in many cases, this could have been prevented – Prof Nigel Hunt, the dean of the dental surgery faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons said that 90% of tooth decay is preventable.
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay can happen to any of us and, once it has taken hold, it can have all sorts of consequences, from dental pain to losing teeth. Particularly when it comes to children’s oral health, preventing tooth decay is especially important, as it will help to avoid problems in the future. Signs that a child may be suffering with tooth decay include persistent bad breath, toothache, a bad taste in the mouth and visible discolouration of teeth.
What causes tooth decay?
There are many ways in which children can end up with problems with tooth decay. Not brushing and flossing teeth on a regular basis means that the bacteria that causes decay is not being removed and this gives plaque the chance to form. Children who are not well hydrated and suffer from a dry mouth may have issues, as saliva is required to neutralise acids and help keep teeth clean. Food that is high in sugar is a real problem when it comes to creating the bacteria that produces the acid that leads to plaque and tooth decay. It’s also important that children get enough fluoride – a lack of fluoride is easy to treat with a fluoride application at your local dentist.
Preventing tooth decay in children
Preventative dentistry is really important for parents looking to encourage children into healthy habits and long-term dental health. This means daily brushing and flossing, visiting the dentist on a regular basis to monitor any decay and using dental hygiene services that include professional cleaning and teaching children how to avoid allowing plaque to form.
Make sure that your children have a great smile for years to come and book an appointment with a Smile Pad dentist today. We offer a range of child friendly treatments and advice, including caring for baby teeth, and we can help your little one overcome fear of the dentist too.