One in five children require dental work before they reach five, according to new research from Oasis Dental Care.
The research looked at parents of two to 11-year-olds around the UK and found 37% had fillings, 26% at least one crown, 35% needed gum treatment.
The research also found that 29% of children have also experienced one of the above treatments too.
‘This research shows that education is really important,’ Eddie Coyle, dentist and head of clinical services for Oasis Dental Care.
‘Many people are simply unaware of how to take care of their children’s dental hygiene.’
A fifth of children aged two to five have brushed their teeth only once a day, according to the research.
Other findings from the research show that 26% of children aged two to five regularly go for at least one day a week without cleaning their teeth, rising to 18% of eight to 11-year-olds.
‘These findings paint a worrying picture as children as young as two are eating and drinking sugary snacks and drinks regularly every day,’ Eddie continued.
‘We would therefore urge parents to think about the levels of sugar content in foods and drink that they and their children consume as foods high in sugar and carbohydrates increase mouth bacteria, which attack the teeth, causing decay.
‘The teeth’s natural defence, salvia, takes around an hour following consumption of these high sugar foods, to build up.
‘That’s why it’s really important to reduce the frequency of sugar consumption as well as the volume.’
With the children that require dental work, 74% of the parents felt guilty or upset when their child needed a filling.
Despite this only 15% changed their oral health habits and 6% changed their diet.
‘It’s only natural to feel guilty when your child needs dental work and one thing we have noticed across our 350 dental practices is that people often simply neglect to brush their teeth properly, getting into bad habits and cutting corners,’ Eddie concluded.
‘But, it’s not just about how you brush your teeth – diet plays a big part too, and reducing the intake of sugary snacks is really important.’