Tooth extractions still the most common hospital procedure for children
Data from Public Health England also shows tooth extractions are still the most common hospital procedure amongst children.
Tooth decay causes problems with eating, sleeping and results in at least 60,000 days being missed from school, PHE claims.
‘Children are consuming far too much sugar each day,’ Dr Sandra White, dental lead for PHE, said.
‘This can have a very serious impact on their oral health.
‘Parents can help reduce their children’s sugar intake by making simple swaps when shopping.
‘And by making sure their children’s teeth are brushed twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
‘Small, consistent changes like these can have the biggest impact on children’s teeth.’
Children are consuming the equivalent of eight sugar cubes over the recommended daily limit, PHE says.
PHE is promoting its Change4life campaign on the back of these figures to highlight healthier, lower sugar alternatives.
The Change4life campaign encourages parents to:
- Swap sugary drinks and snacks for lower or no sugar alternatives
- Limit fruit juice and smoothies to a total of 150ml per day and only consume with meals
- Ensure children brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and remind them to ‘spit not rinse’.
Parents can also use the Change4life ‘Food Scanner’ app to see sugar, salt and fat content in food and drinks.
Oral health inequalities
The British Dental Association (BDA) is urging the Government to tackle ‘deep-seated oral health inequalities’ amongst children.
Children in more deprived parts of England can be more than five times more likely to face hospital dental extractions.
Doncaster is the worst affected area with Rotherham, Sheffield, Preston and Blackpool following closely behind.
‘Children’s oral health shouldn’t be a postcode lottery,’ BDA chair, Mick Armstrong, said.
‘These figures show just how wide the oral health gap between rich and poor has become.
‘While Wales and Scotland have national programmes making real inroads
‘England Ministers are yet to commit a penny of new money to the challenge.
‘This poverty of ambition is costing our NHS millions, even though tried-and-tested policies would pay for themselves.
‘The Government’s own figures show a pound spent on prevention can yield over three back in savings on treatment.
‘If Ministers won’t heed the advice of health professionals, they might want to speak to an accountant.’