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One in four school children still suffer from tooth decay in the UK



According to new figures, although tooth decay in general is on the decline, a quarter of school children still develop cavities before they start primary school – this is a 20% drop since 2008 but it is still a high number for a condition that is preventable. The figures are based on over 100,000 children in the UK and they revealed that the children with the poorest levels of dental health reside in the North West of the country.

Public Health England (PHE), who released the figures, said that the drop in cases of tooth decay was ‘good news’ but that a quarter of school-age children developing decay is still too much. Dr Sandra White, director of dental public health at PHE, said that there is still a great deal of ‘inequality in dental health’ in different areas of the country.

Offering advice to parents of young children, Sandra said that ‘limiting sugary food and drink’ as well as encouraging children to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste would help to lower the instances of tooth decay even further. With better dental habits, Sandra added, parents can help prevent any problems with cavities and avoid unnecessary suffering for their children.



Statistics show that 24million Brits do not brush their teeth at least once a day


According to new research, a shocking number of Britons do not take their oral health seriously and fail to brush their teeth at least once a day. The report suggests that over 24 million people in Britain fail to brush regularly, despite the fact that around four in ten admit to feeling self-conscious about the way their teeth look.

Brits between the ages of 26 and 34 were the worst culprits for neglecting their dental health, with over half of respondents admitting that they did not brush at least once a day. People over the age of 55 were the most conscious brushers, with 68% brushing at least once during the day. The counties with the best oral hygiene turned out to be the north east, the south east, and East Anglia. The worst offenders were London, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

The research involved a survey of 2,000 adults in the UK, to find out how Brits feel about their teeth and also the teeth of others around them. Almost a quarter of those asked said that they were ashamed by the condition of their teeth and a shocking 40% said that they would never show their teeth while smiling.


A third of men haven’t visited the dentist in five years


According to new research, a third of men only visit the dentist once every five years, whereas women keep regular appointments; just over three quarters of women get their teeth checked up at least once every two years. Around half (52%) of women visit their dentist at least once a year.

Additionally, the study – carried out by Carlsbrook Dental in Manchester – showed that 62% of men admitted they would only go to the dentist if they developed pain in their teeth or gums, or there was obvious damage that needed repair. The study polled 1,000 people and the owner of the clinic, Tariq Idrees, said that most people assumed they should visit the dentist once every six months but some people may need to go more often and others will not need such regular visits. Tariq added that ‘the time between check-ups can vary from three months to two years, depending on how healthy your teeth and gums are and your risk of future problems.’

It is essential to visit the dentist regularly, however, as Dr Idrees points out that this ‘allows a dentist to see if you have any dental problems and helps to keep the mouth healthy.’

It seems that women are much more conscious of their dental health and Dr Idrees suggests that this could be because of celebrities showing off their perfect smiles, as this may have ‘encouraged us all to raise our game a bit when it comes to dental beauty.’


Experts warn of regional discrepancies in children’s dental health


According to dental experts there are huge regional discrepancies in the health of children’s teeth up and down the country. Sandra White, director of dental public health at Public Health England, spoke at a health select committee hearing into children’s oral health. She told the committee that the most deprived areas of the country have a greater percentage of dental decay in five-year-olds than the least deprived areas.

Dr White also said that children who develop decay when they still have their milk teeth are more likely to show signs of decay when their adult teeth come through. She added that it’s important to teach children how to effectively clean their teeth while they are young, so that they don’t have to get dental treatment in later life.

Chief dental officer for England, Barry Cockcroft, said that despite the improvement in child oral health over the past 50 years there is still a strong link between deprivation and poor dental hygiene. He told the hearing that children in deprived areas were only accessing treatment after they had developed symptoms, rather than receiving preventative care. Finally he said ‘I think we shouldn’t see this purely as a dental issue, this is a societal issue that we need to address across a broad front.’

Woman gets £30,000 dental treatment thanks to TV show


A woman left with terrible damage to her teeth and gums managed to get £30,000 dental treatment free of charge thanks to the TV show Botched Up Bodies, after she was unable to save up to pay for the repair work herself.

Lynda Dobbins, of Wallasey in Merseyside, is finally able to smile again after suffering dental problems since she was a child and becoming ‘horrified’ by the way her ‘disgusting’ teeth looked. Lynda, 42, appeared on Channel 5’s show about surgery-gone-wrong and now she has her confidence back. Having been quoted £30,000 for dental treatment, Lynda had to apply for the show if she ever hoped to get her dental health back on track – she said she was ‘looking at loans’ to try and finance the treatment, before she saw that the programme was looking for applicants.

Now, Lynda says she is ‘so grateful’ for the help of dentists Michael and Anthony Zybutz and now she is proud of her beautiful new teeth. She added ‘I am more chatty and animated, more confident and, of course, I smile more. I do still feel angry but I’m so happy with my smile I want to move forward now. I feel like I’ve become a person, a human being again. And it’s great.’

Almost 10% of three-year-olds in Derbyshire have tooth decay


Research body Public Health England (PHE) has revealed that 9.2% of children in Derbyshire have evidence of tooth decay, although this is less than the national average of 11.7%, Derbyshire County Council say they are committed to improving the numbers even further.

A spokesman for the council said that they are pleased that the number is below the national average and said that they will work hard to ensure that the percentage does not increase in the coming years. The spokesman said ‘This is really positive and tells us that parents understand the impact poor oral health can have on their children and are taking steps to avoid it. We know there are areas where we can do better and we will be targeting those with oral health promotion initiatives.’

The council is hoping to continue working with communities in the county to improve oral health and the aim is to prevent decay in all children by encouraging ‘good tooth care routines early on, brushing with fluoride toothpaste [and] avoiding too many sugary drinks and sweets.’ By helping children develop good habits with regards to dental health, kids in Derbyshire should be able to enjoy healthy teeth throughout childhood and entering into adulthood.

Teeside children have some of the worst teeth in England


Shocking new figures have revealed that children in Teeside have some of the poorest records of dental health in the country. Figures released by Health and Social Care Information Centre show that the number of fillings and root canal treatments provided to children in the area are among the highest in the country, with children in Stockton, Middlesbrough coming off worst – where a child has a filling every seven minutes.

Kamini Shah, consultant in dental public health with Public Health England in the North East, said that the poor state of dental health in the Teeside area is a reflection of ‘high levels of deprivation’ and she urged parents to teach their children good hygiene habits whilst cutting down on sugary snacks, including fizzy drinks.

Children in Stockton are more than twice as likely to have had teeth removed than in England overall and the council are trying to do something about it by educating parents in the Stockton Borough on how to prevent decay and encourage good oral hygiene. A universal programme for fluoride toothpaste and toothbrushes for nursery-age children has also been rolled out recently, in an effort to get children to look after their teeth from an early age.

Stockton dentist Paran Nithiananthan said that ‘the most important thing is diet’ and added that ‘tooth decay is preventable… A lot of it comes from education but it’s really the parents and carers that have the important responsibility.’

Dentists warn that alcohol can damage teeth


According to a new survey, only sixteen percent of the general public think about the effect that alcohol is having on their dental health. Dentists have revealed that just a single glass of wine a day can dry out the mouth, cause bad breath, and increase the risk of tooth decay.

Most types of wine are extremely acidic and this can lead to a softening of the enamel, eventually causing it to wear away; enamel erosion cannot be repaired naturally and this will cause sensitivity and pain within the teeth. Carbonated wine and other fizzy alcoholic beverages are especially damaging and Dr Henry Clover, a dentist with dental insurance firm Denplan, said that adding ice to your drink will dilute the effects of the acid within the liquid, he added that you are better off choosing a non-carbonated beverage as this reduces the acid content. As well as acid, many alcoholic drinks are packed with sugar and this can cause tooth decay.

Because alcohol is a diuretic it will dehydrate the body and this reduces saliva flow into the mouth, leading to bad breath. Dr Clover recommends alternating alcoholic drinks with water to keep the body and mouth hydrated, and chewing sugar-free gum could help to stimulate saliva production, keeping the mouth moist.

Dental health of children in Bradford comes to the forefront


Five-year-olds in Bradford have the worst dental health in Yorkshire, possibly the country; according to a meeting of Bradford’s Health and Wellbeing Board. It was also revealed that the problem had noticeably increased since dental services became the responsibility of NHS England.

Board Chairman, Bradford Council leader Councillor David Green, said that the problem was becoming ‘bigger and bigger’ and was something that he is becoming ‘increasingly concerned about’. After speaking with a number of dentists he found that they were ‘basically at their wits end because of the pressure on them.’

He added that he was especially concerned about the number of people, in particular children, that were arriving at A&E with serious oral infections due to ‘lack of dental care.’ Councillor Green said that this could either be due to not visiting the dentist or perhaps because access to treatment is limited in the area. Finally, he said that the children of Bradford have got the ‘worst dental health…certainly in Yorkshire and the Humber, if not the country.’

Manager of patients’ group Healthwatch Bradford and District, Andrew Jones, pointed out that the poorer residents were more likely to be affected by dental problems, saying ‘The biggest enquiry issue that Healthwatch gets is about NHS dentistry. That’s nothing new, but dental care and oral health have a huge inequalities element to it.’

Heidi Klum admits The Tooth Fairy costs her a fortune


Supermodel Heidi Klum has admitted in an interview with People magazine that she spends a ‘small fortune’ on her children when their baby teeth fall out, after she got it wrong from the start. The mother-of-four was asked about her children at an Operation Shower event for military mothers, and she talked about planning life around the kids, as well as handing over cash as The Tooth Fairy, when their milk teeth started to come out.

Klum, 40, told the publication, ‘Teeth are falling out, [but] the [kids] don’t mind it because they get money. I messed it up with the very first tooth that came out – I gave 20 dollars.’ The Project Runway host has four children; Leni, 9, Henry, 8, Johan, 7, and Lou, 4, which means that the cost of paying for the teeth certainly starts to add up. She went on to say ‘I had no idea. I thought 20 bucks was the right thing to do with the first tooth, but now with four kids and all of these teeth that are coming, it’s another small fortune.’

As well as keeping up with their dental health, the supermodel has to balance her career with family life; she added ‘I have to schedule and plan my life really well [so] that I have enough off days with my family. The weekends, for example, don’t work and I’m always home at the end of the day to have dinner and bath and bedtime.’

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