Caroline looks at an alarming increase in dental problems in the under 5s…
An article in the Sunday Times this weekend has revealed an alarming statistic: 33% of children under five in Yorkshire and Humber have rotten teeth, making the region second only to the north-west.
Leeds Dental Hospital has seen a 17.4% increase in referrals from family dentists, with children having to wait an average of four months for a consultation, despite the fact that extra sessions are being run for young patients.
Many parents think that baby teeth are less important than adult teeth when it comes to taking care of them but this is not true. Children are having to have repeated courses of antibiotics to treat infections and there is a huge chance of needing orthodontic treatment later on. Apart from that of course there is the fact that these children are going to be in a lot of pain while they wait for the teeth to be extracted under general anaesthetic, a procedure which carries an inevitable element of risk.
It all makes depressing reading when you think how easy it is to prevent this happening. The recommendation is that children should be registered with a dentist as soon as their first tooth appears – something which I will be reminding my daughter about when her baby reaches that milestone!
Suggestions have been made that sugary foods and drinks should carry graphic pictures of tooth decay, similar to the ones used to try to deter people from smoking. Do you feel this would have an effect on what you let your children consume? Let us know what you think.