NHS Digital (the new name for the Health and Social Care Information Centre) recently uncovered some alarming statistics regarding children’s dental health In the UK.
That equates to almost 5,000,000 children not being seen by an NHS dentist in 2015/16. Guidelines state that children should visit the dentist regularly, at least every year.
The NHS Digital report showed that:
- 917,346 tooth extractions were performed on children..
- Extractions were most common in South Tyneside with one for every six children and adults.
- The Blackpool and Medway region was next with one’s extraction for every seven people.
- The lowest in the country was Richmond-upon-Thames with one extraction on the NHS in every 39 people.
Professor Nigel Hunt, dean of the faculty of dental surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, said of the new data:
“There is nothing to smile about in these woeful statistics.
“With the average five-year-old now eating their own weight in sugar each year, it is alarming that 42.1% of children failed to visit an NHS dentist at all in the last year.
“It is appalling that in the 21st century, tooth decay remains the most common reason why children aged five to nine are admitted to hospital. In some cases, these children undergo multiple tooth extractions under general anaesthetic – despite the fact that tooth decay is almost entirely preventable.
“We are failing to address this issue of improving children’s access to an NHS dentist and we urge ministers to act.”
Looking at things a little more locally, the NHS Oral Health Strategy 2012 – 2015 (Devon and Torbay) states:
Oral health is an integral part of general health and wellbeing. Good oral health enables individuals to communicate effectively, to eat and enjoy a variety of foods, and is important in overall quality of life, self-esteem and social confidence
We all know that children learn their behaviours from adults, so it’s vitally important to ensure you look after your own teeth and oral health, for yourself and your children.
The effects of poor dental hygiene on your body.
As can be seen from the image here there is a significant link between your oral health and your overall body health.
Diabetes. 95% of adults in America with diabetes also have periodontal disease and a third have advanced periodontal disease that has led to tooth loss.
Erectile dysfunction. Periodontal bacteria can travel through the bloodstream, inflaming blood vessels and blocking blood flow. Men with periodontal disease are seven times more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than men with good dental hygiene!
Heart disease. A study in the Netherlands of more than 60,000 patients showed that people with periodontal disease are twice as likely to develop heart disease. The researchers in the study found that 4% of patients with peritonitis had atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, compared to 2% without periodontitis. Even after taking other risk factors for cardiovascular disease into account such as diabetes, smoking and high blood pressure those with periodontal disease was still 59% more likely to have a history of heart problems.
How to brush your children’s teeth and stay dentally fit
- Divide the mouth into six sections (Upper left back teeth, upper front teeth, upper right back teeth, lower left back teeth, lower front teeth, lower right back teeth) and take 20 seconds to brush each.
- Within each section brush the inner, outer and biting surfaces of each tooth.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste.
- Supervise brushing up until the age of seven years old.
- Brush twice a day.
If you follow this guide you will stand a much lower chance of developing tooth decay and cavities which can lead onto periodontal disease if left untreated.