One in five parents in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk have never taken their child to see the dentist.
That’s according to a new study from Mydentist, which shows 19% of the parents in East Anglia have never taken their child to see the dentist – the lowest number in the country.
‘Tooth decay and poor dental health has a significant impact on our overall health and wellbeing, and in children is a substantial indicator for their quality of life when they enter adulthood,’ Michaela ONeil, president of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT), said.
‘Avoiding dental disease such as tooth decay is incredibly important and it’s critical that children are given the best possible opportunity to keep good dental health.
‘In addition to daily brushing and a good diet, visiting a dental professional, whether it’s a dentist or dental hygiene and therapist, as often as they recommend, is one of the most important measures parents can take to look after their child’s teeth.’
The BSDHT has said it’s the responsibility of the parents to help resolve the current crisis in children’s dental health.
Nationally, more than 700,000 children under the age of eight who have been to the dentist have had at least one filling, costing the NHS an estimated £22 million a year and in June, the BSDHT launched First Smiles, a dedicated day that paired up schools and dental professionals with the goal to make a positive difference and improve the oral health and wellbeing of young school children.
‘First Smiles enabled dental hygiene and therapists from across the country to go into schools and teach thousands of young children about the importance of a healthy mouth,’ Michaela ONeil continued.
‘We ensured thousands of early years and primary school children received the right information, delivered in an easy-to-understand and enjoyable way, which they could later adopt at home.
‘There were lessons on everything from tooth brushing demonstrations to imaginative activities and information around nutrition and diet.
‘Visits such as these can have a profoundly positive effect on the attitudes of children towards dental professionals and their own oral health.
‘Additionally, children were also given toothbrushes and toothpaste along with dental and motivational packs to take home and share with their families.
‘It is these home resources that could then help provide information to parents too.’