After it was revealed that 500 British children are admitted to hospital for tooth decay every week, dental surgeons have come forward to voice their concerns about this statistic. The figures, released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) made for alarming reading and showed that a shocking 25,812 children between the ages of five and nine were admitted to hospital because of poor oral health in 2013/2014 – this is a 14% rise from 2010/2011.
Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, questioned parents that would leave their child in pain and added that dental decay was ‘a disease of poverty and disadvantage.’ Referring to the figures, Dr Carter said that the numbers were representative of the ‘North-South’ divide, and cited areas in the North West of England and Yorkshire, as the worst in the country.
Voicing his opinion on the cause of the problem, Dr Carter did not mince his words; ‘its pure parental neglect’ he says, and points the finger at the diets parents are feeding their children. He added ‘Parents must learn to check by reading labels… Things parents think of as healthy can be risky, such as sultanas or dried fruit, which are not only high in sugar but also sticky, so sugar stays in the mouth longer.’
With regards to dental hygiene, Dr Carter is concerned that children are not being taught how to brush their teeth, he says ‘Some parents don’t even provide a toothbrush or fluoride toothpaste and don’t supervise their children’s cleaning regime.’ Finally, he added that parents should take their children to the dentist at least once every six months for a check-up, so that they can avoid decay and hopefully a trip to the hospital for extractions will be unnecessary.