Debate was rife on the BBC website last week following the publication of an article entitled ‘Half of eight-year-olds have tooth decay’. The BBC were citing a survey which was commissioned by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. The Children’s Dental Health Survey for England, Wales and Northern Ireland is carried out every ten years and aims to get a good picture of children’s oral health across the UK. Close to 10,000 children took part in the current survey and overall the findings are described as ‘encouraging’. So what is really going on?
The current survey results are encouraging: tooth decay rates in children are declining. However they are still far higher than they should, or need, to be. To avoid tooth decay, children should be supported to brush their teeth twice a day, for at least two minutes each time. A toothpaste containing fluoride is recommended. Consumption of sugary drinks and snacks should be reduced or avoided, as sugar is a major contributory factor in tooth decay. Careful monitoring of food labels and packaging can really help with this. Regular dental check-ups are also a must and can help you identify signs of decay and plan how to look after your child’s teeth. Ock Street also offer a number of options such as fissure sealants which can help you to take proactive measures to maintaining good oral health for your children.
So whilst the current survey results are encouraging, there is still much to be done in the fight against tooth decay in children. For more information about the survey findings, and to hear what others thought, please visit the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-31960772