There have been several stories in the news over the last few months about the terrible state of our children’s dental health – but there has to be: we need to shift our thinking in order to halt the decline.
More than 25,000 children had to be admitted to hospital last year for extractions related to tooth decay. NHS figures released in September this year showed that 40% of children were not taken to the dentist for a check up in 2015 – a surprising figure given dental care is free for under 16s.
Is the issue with children’s dental health simply that they eat too much sugar?
There is danger to be found in surprising places where children’s dental health is concerned. For example, had you considered there might be a link between tooth decay and going to bed late?
The Oral Health Foundation has highlighted a study published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene which finds that adolescents who stay up late are at higher risk – with some four times as likely to have cavities than those who are early to bed.
They propose that risk is increased because thorough tooth-brushing might be overlooked without parental supervision, and fatigue from a late night and a probable skipping of breakfast leads to snacking (potentially on sugary goods) throughout the day; as every professional at our London specialist dental practice will tell you, that is a recipe for tooth decay.
Looking at dentistry from a child’s perspective
By making regular trips to the dentist, you give your child the best chance of maintaining good oral health as problems can be spotted early and treated effectively. Some children, however, find the prospect of the dentist terrifying.
At our central London specialist dental practice, our paediatric dentist Dr Joanna Johnson has much experience of treating nervous children and teenagers. She uses behavioural management techniques to help them through their treatment, ensuring it is a positive experience.