A recent article in a national newspaper Thousands of children have decayed teeth out in hospital.
We wondered why it is increasing – so we asked local dentist Chig Amin of Epsom Dental Centre why it is happening, and more importantly, what parents can do to ensure their children do not have to go through this:
“According to the latest statistics released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), England’s hospitals have seen an increased number of children’s admissions for severe tooth decay over the past four years.
The statistics conclude that there have been 128,558 cases of children aged 10 or under requiring emergency tooth extraction since 2011.
Furthermore, between 1st April 2014 to 31st March the following year, on call doctors performed tooth extractions on 14,445 children aged five or under. During the same time period, there were 19,336 cases of children aged between six and 10 who endured the same in-hospital procedure.
The reports also mention that this 10% rise in hospital admissions for tooth decay has “a strong correlation between area deprivation and the rate of tooth extraction”. In North West England there were 6,672 cases while London’s hospitals treated the most children in England with 8,362 cases.
The report goes on to explain that the children who had undergone a hospital tooth extraction have been “missed in primary care dentistry as the tooth decay is severe enough that they need hospital treatment, therefore it is likely that they have not regularly attended the dentist”. The authors of the report then go on to explain that “if they (the children) had gone to the dentist, their tooth decay should have been picked up earlier and not reached the stage of extraction.”
The authors then go on to point out the severity of the situation stating that; “The treatment occurring in secondary care implies the children are having their teeth extracted under general anesthetic and means that tooth decay has reached extreme levels.”
Regular dental check-ups are advised in order to prevent such extreme cases from occurring. Make an appointment for your child to have a check-up with their dentist every six months. That way your dentist can examine their teeth and gums to ensure there are no signs of tooth decay or gum disease.
If you are unsure of how to brush correctly, your dentist will be more than happy to explain proper brushing technique to ensure your teeth are thoroughly cleaned. Moreover, a healthy balanced diet is just as important for warding off tooth decay as it is for keeping your body healthy. Your dentist can also give you and your family some helpful tips on how to eat correctly and what foods and drinks to avoid.
Chief Executive of the British Oral Health Foundation, Dr. Nigel Hunt addressed this situation: “Around 40% of children still do not visit the dentist each year. Regular visits to the dentist encourage good oral health and provide rapid diagnosis and treatment to prevent children from being hospitalised due to tooth decay."
Hunt went on to talk about how we can reduce tooth decay and improve our overall oral health through education: “The problem is partly one of improving oral health education. The Government and dental professionals need to work together to raise awareness of the impact of sugar on tooth decay and improve children’s access to NHS dental services.”
Improve Your Child’s Oral Health.
It is important that parents encourage their children to take care of their teeth and gums. Here are just a few pointers on how to prevent your child from developing tooth decay:
Your child’s first visit to the dentist should happen around their first birthday or when the first tooth sprouts. From there, they should be visiting their dentist for a check-up at least every six months, or as advised by their dentist.”
About The Author
Dr Chig Amin is the owner and principal dentist of the Epsom Dental Centre. Dr Amin regularly writes advice articles on family oral health matters. You can stay up to date on the best way to take care of your child’s oral health by ‘liking’ Epsom Dental’s Facebook page.