Published on March 24, 2015

Children’s dental health is improving……or is it?

Children’s dental health is improving……or is it?

Last week saw the publication of the interim results of the Children’s Dental Health Survey 2013 – the survey that reviews the state of the nation’s dental health every 10 years. 

10,000 children across England, Wales and Northern Ireland were examined for evidence of tooth decay, gum disease and tooth wear and the results showed that whilst the overall trends of decay in children shows an improvement, nearly half of eight year olds have signs of decay in their teeth. It also highlighted that a third of five year olds have signs of decay in their milk teeth.

With tooth decay rates higher among children from more deprived families some have argued that many dental surgeries are not taking as many NHS patients which has led to  some patients not attending on a regular basis. This has resulted in mixed reviews in regards to who is to blame and questions are being asked…. Who should take responsibility? What needs to be done to improve this? Does more research need to be done? And should there be an increase in fluoride in our water?

A key message that can be drawn from the survey results is that children are still consuming too much sugar in their diets.

Should the government be looking at the food we eat and the amount of sugary snacks and drinks that children have in their diets? Could some medicines that we give our children be a contributing factor or is it down to the parents to make sure that their children are brushing their teeth and making regular dental visits?

The results of the 2013 survey act as a reminder that children and parents need to establish a good oral health routine as soon as the first milk tooth appears.

But who does the responsibility for improving our children’s oral health rest with

Should the government drive the fluoridation agenda further? Should legislation be passed to regulate the amount of sugar in food and drink? Should schools supervise tooth brushing at schools? And at what point do parents need to accept responsibility?

The survey does not offer or endorse any specific course of action, but it is clear that unless a ‘joined up’ approach to our children’s oral health is adopted, there will still be many children suffering the pain and discomfort of tooth decay

We would love to hear your thoughts as to how this situation can be addressed. Join the debate and send us your suggestions.

Read the full article here.


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