PARENTS

Tooth Decay Is The 'Leading Cause Of Child Hospital Admissions', Here's How Parents Can Help Prevent It

Every day 160 kids in England have tooth extractions in hospital.

11/01/2017 08:58 GMT

Tooth decay has emerged as the “leading cause of child hospital admissions”, the Local Government Association (LGA) has revealed.

Every day, 160 children and teenagers in England have tooth extractions while under general anesthetic in hospital, according to the LGA.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has commented that these hospital admissions could be avoided as tooth decay is entirely preventable.

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Dr Ben Atkins, a spokesperson for the BDA, told The Huffington Post UK about a six-year-old patient who had to have 13 teeth taken out while under general anaesthetic.

“It does break your heart when you think it is an easily preventable disease,” he told HuffPost UK.

“We investigated what happened and what had caused the holes and it was mainly fruit juice. She wouldn’t drink any water.

“As a parent you understand that, but I have a three- and five-year-old and in my house it’s milk or water.”

Atkins said he comes across some parents who put sugar in children’s milk to get them to drink it and don’t understand the damage it’s doing.

“That six-year-old was drinking cola, too, and smoothies. She was having sugar solution constantly in her mouth.”

However, according to Atkins this little girl is proof that it is never too late to start instilling healthy habits.

“Now she’s 13 and her adult teeth are spotless,” he said. “She brushes her teeth twice a day, reduced the frequency of sugary drinks just to mealtimes and has water in between.

“She’s one of the success stories, she’s so proud of her teeth now.”

So what can parents do to keep their children’s teeth healthy? 

The BDA offered the following five tips:

  1. Take your child to the dentist as soon as their teeth start to emerge, if not by one year. It means that any problems can be picked up and treated early.

  2. Foods containing sugar should be kept to a minimum and are best given at mealtimes.

  3. Children should be assisted to brush their teeth as soon as they erupt/ appear.

  4. Brush teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Kids should be encouraged to spit out excess toothpaste and not rinse with water after brushing.

  5. Supervise children brushing their teeth until they are seven.

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