Improving Tooth Decay In The Under Fives

Prevention and supervision by our Essex dentists reduces the risk of dental decay.

Public Health England have, today, released figures showing that tooth decay for the under fives in the UK is improving (1).

Whilst this is excellent news for parents who visit the Cygnet Dental Practice, we should certainly not rest on our laurels. The report also states that over 150, 000 children under five still suffer from tooth decay. Aside from the problems that this causes for the child, it is also very distressing for any parent to see them suffer, who, perhaps, also have to go to hospital to see them have their teeth extracted.

Extractions using a general anaesthetic can now only be legally performed in a hospital and not a dental practice.

Prevention

Anyone with young children will understand how difficult it can be to control a child’s diet, and most of us have probably given in to the persistent crying and allowed that bar of chocolate that we told them, initially, that they couldn’t have. The occasional sweets or chocolate though should not be a cause for concern providing that they brush their teeth and see a dentist regularly.

To ensure that a child brushes their teeth effectively, it should always be supervised by an adult. Two minutes is the recommended time that a child should brush their teeth and there are many devices and phone apps that can make timing this two minutes more fun. You should also allow a little extra time to compensate for where the child simply sucks the toothbrush, rather than actually brushing!

It is important to make sure that a fluoride toothpaste is used. This helps to protect the enamel on the tooth which is a barrier to dental decay. Once the enamel becomes compromised, dental decay is much more likely to follow.

Diet

It goes without saying that excessive sweets and chocolates should be avoided as far as possible. Where some parents slip up though, is in letting the child drink lots of fruit juices. Whilst these are healthy in many other respects, they are very high in sugars and, as the child is likely to sip these over a long period of time, the amount of sugar that sticks to the teeth is increased. Water or very dilute juice will not damage the teeth and most children, if started from an early age, will be perfectly happy with this to quench their thirst, reserving fruit juices for occasional consumption only.

Professional care

Finally, please do bring your child to our dental practice in Wickford, Essex, from an early age. Even where no treatment is necessary, getting your child accustomed to a dental environment is likely to help them keep regular dental appointments in later life, and to avoid developing dental phobia; a key reason why many people suffer from problems with their teeth and gums.

To make an appointment for your child, or yourself, please call the Cygnet Dental Practice on 01268 733078.