The Faculty of Dental Surgery is urging school dinners in England to go sugar free.
It hopes this will help combat high tooth decay rates amongst school children.
The faculty has produced 12 recommendations to reduce tooth decay prevalence including:
- All schools in England to introduce supervised teeth-brushing schemes before 2022
- All schools to become ‘sugar free’
- Extending the soft-drinks levy to include sugary dairy drinks
- Limiting advertising and promotions for high-sugar products
- Reducing the sugar content of commercial baby foods.
‘It is incredibly worrying that levels of tooth decay among children in England remain so high,’ Professor Michael Escudier, dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery, said.
‘Especially when you consider that it’s almost entirely preventable through simple steps.’
Free dental care
A campaign to remind parents how often to take children to the dentist is also recommended by the faculty.
The British Dental Association (BDA) has previously highlighted how parents are unaware that dental treatment for children is free.
Its figures show nearly 42% of children in England are missing out on free dental care.
‘It’s a scandal that tooth decay remains the number one reason for child hospital admissions,’ BDA chair, Mick Armstrong, said.
‘We will not see real progress until ministers start going further and faster on prevention.’
Almost six in 10 (57.7%) children between one and four years old didn’t visit an NHS dentist last year.
That’s according to analysis of NHS Digital data by the Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS).
Almost half (41.4%) of children up to 17 years old didn’t attend an NHS dentist appointment in 2018.
‘It’s disappointing that nearly six in 10 one- to four-year-olds didn’t see an NHS dentist last year,’ Professor Michael Escudier said.
‘Children who experience early childhood tooth decay are much more likely to develop subsequent problems.
‘This includes an increased risk of further decay in both baby and permanent teeth.
‘It’s so important a child’s first interactions with the dentist are for simple check-ups rather than more serious treatment.
‘Just getting a child into the habit of opening their mouth for a dentist is useful practice for the future.’