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Category “Dentistry for children”

Could supervised brushing at school help to stem the tide of decay?

Public Health England figures suggest that dentists are removing around 1,000 teeth per month from children under the age of 6, despite the fact that almost all cases of decay are preventable. With dental issues costing the NHS millions of pounds, and children missing 60,000 school days every year as a result of decay, it has been suggested that supervised brushing in schools could help to stem the rising tide of decay. 

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, is launching a consultation on a number of measures designed to reduce rates of decay, including supervised brushing schemes in schools. Health experts are worried that a large proportion of children aren’t brushing their teeth on a daily basis, and introducing brushing programmes could help to ensure that young children brush at least once a day. 

Poor oral hygiene is a significant factor in high rates of decay, but public dental health experts are also eager to improve eating habits, reduce sugar consumption and encourage parents to take children to the dentist every 6 months. 

The news of brushing schemes has been welcomed by dentists, including the chair of the British Dental Association’s principal executive committee, Mick Armstrong, but it has been criticised by teaching unions. Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, questioned whether it was the duty of teachers to ensure that their pupils brushed their teeth. 

Senior lecturer in dental public health at the University of Birmingham, Dr John Morris, said that the impact of poor dental health in childhood shouldn’t be underestimated. Dental troubles contribute to pain and a higher risk of infection, but they can also affect self-confidence and socialisation. 

Tooth extraction is currently the most common reason children are admitted to hospital in the UK.

Ministers rule out energy drink ban for children

Ministers have ruled against introducing a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children due to a lack of scientific evidence.
Campaigners had called for the drinks, which usually contain a lot of sugar and caffeine, to be prohibited for children, but MPs in the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee have concluded that there isn’t enough “quantitative evidence” to push a statutory ban through at the moment.
Although there will not be a universal ban on selling energy drinks to children, the committee welcomed individual measures and policies adopted by shops, retail chains and schools. In recent months, a number of high-profile stores announced that they would introduce restrictions on the sale of energy drinks, with some bringing in a ban for under 16’s. Qualitative data analysis suggests that these bans may help to reduce consumption, but could also prove beneficial as they reinforce the link between energy drinks and negative effects on health.
The government launched the consultation into a ban on energy drinks for children in the summer, with the Prime Minister supporting the measure as a means of tackling childhood obesity. Statistics show that children in the UK consume more energy drinks than their counterparts in other countries in Europe.
Norman Lamb, chair of the committee, said that the panel had listened to a diverse range of concerns, from hyperactivity and a lack of focus and concentration in the classroom to obesity and dental disease, but there was currently not enough scientific evidence to differentiate the consumption of energy drinks from other drinks, including coffee, tea and fizzy pop.

Government statistics show that dental decay costs 60,000 school days every year

shutterstock_509471827Government statistics show that dental decay is costing children around 60,000 school days per year.

Figures suggest that a child in England has had a tooth removed every 10 minutes, with an average of 141 extraction procedures carried out every day. The new figures from Public Health England were released on the day a new sugar tax was introduced by the government. Some children as young as 12 months old are undergoing treatment under general anaesthetic for a condition that is almost always preventable.

Dental bodies are worried that high-sugar diets and poor oral hygiene are contributing to an epidemic, which is subjecting children to pain, causing them to miss school and costing the NHS millions of pounds.

In light of the statistics, dental experts are keen to promote healthy eating and improve education related to dietary choices and the impact of eating too much sugar. Recently, Public Health England launched a campaign to limit snacking to a small number of 100-calorie snacks per day after it was revealed that a significant portion of children were exceeding their daily recommended sugar intake through snacks alone. The new sugary drink levy will increase the cost of buying fizzy drinks, which can contain around 9 cubes of sugar per 330ml can. The maximum recommended daily intake for a child aged 5 years old is just 6 cubes.

Dr Sandra White, lead dentist at PHE, said that it was “upsetting” to see so many children requiring hospital treatment and called for parents and older children to consider alternatives including water, sugar-free cordial and low-fat milk.

Some dentists have called for the revenue generated by the sugar tax to be invested in oral health education programmes and preventative measures for children.

Parents urged to swap painkillers for dental visits for children with toothache

shutterstock_316266965Parents have been urged to swap painkillers for dental visits after it emerged that only a third of children see a dentist for dental pain.

Research conducted by a team at Queen Mary University London found that only a third of children are seeing a dentist for tooth pain, with many parents giving their children painkillers or taking them to a GP surgery or even Accident and Emergency departments instead.

The new study showed that parents were using other NHS services rather than going to the dentist for dental pain. Only a third of children who were given pain relief medication for oral pain at community chemists across London had seen a dentist before going to their GP or visiting a pharmacy or hospital department.

Dentists and public health experts are worried that parents are not making use of dental services, which is costing the NHS millions of pounds a year and resulting in children needing complex treatment later on. Pain relief doesn’t treat the root cause, and children who have decayed or infected teeth require procedures that eliminate the cause and prevent the need for further treatment, which can only be provided by trained dentists. If problems are left to fester, this can increase the risk of children ending up in hospital needing extraction under general anaesthetic. The research team estimated the annual cost to the NHS at £2.3 million.

In light of the findings, dentists and health experts have urged parents to take their children to the dentist every 6 months and to consult dental professionals if their child has symptoms or issues between appointments. NHS dental care is available free of charge and most practices offer an out-of-hours service during evenings and weekends.

Public Health England launches new campaign to discourage unhealthy snacking in children

shutterstock_670574656Public Health England has launched a new campaign to discourage unhealthy snacking. As the New Year gets into full swing, the body is hoping to encourage those looking to adopt healthier habits to ditch sugary snacks. Although the scheme is designed to target children, adults can benefit from reducing the amount of calories consumed through snacks too.

Research suggests that the average child gets half their daily sugar intake through snacks and drinks and campaigners are hoping to put an end to this trend. Public Health England is encouraging parents and children to stick to a maximum of two snacks per day, limit snacks to foods that contain no more than 100 calories and swap sugary drinks for sugar-free versions. According to studies, children are having at least three sugary snacks or drinks per day, with many consuming more than three times the recommended sugar intake on a daily basis.

According to Public Health England, children are consuming up to 400 biscuits, 120 cakes, 70 chocolate bars and ice creams and 100 bags of sweets per year. On top of this, children are also consuming 150 bottles of juice or cans of fizzy drinks.

Excessive sugar intake is fuelling increasing childhood obesity rates and dental health issues, and campaigners are eager to encourage healthier eating habits in a bid to reduce the number of children affected by these preventable illnesses. Dental decay is the most common cause of hospital admissions in children and in England, a third of children in year 6 are either overweight or obese.

Parents urged to take children to the dentist before they celebrate their 1st birthday

shutterstock_556878970One of the UK’s most senior dentists has urged parents to make sure they take their children to the dentist before they celebrate their 1st birthday.

Professor Nigel Hunt, dean of the Royal College of Surgeons’ faculty of dentistry, was speaking after new figures revealed alarming oral health habits in London. A recent report confirmed that 9 of the top 10 boroughs in the country for the worst rates of childhood dental appointment attendance are located in London. In Kensington and Chelsea, Hackney, and Tower Hamlets, more than two-thirds of children didn’t see a dentist last year, despite expert advice recommending 6-monhtly check-ups for children.

Professor Hunt said that it was “unacceptable” for so many children to miss out on dental appointments, and said that the capital should be “ashamed.” Some parents aren’t taking their children to see a dentist because they assume that they’ll have to pay, which is not the case, as NHS dental care is free of charge for children. In other cases, Prof Hunt suggested that parents aren’t taking the time to ensure that their child has regular dental check-ups, and they should be made aware of the importance of frequent dental checks.

Every year, more than 11,000 children in London are admitted to hospital for dental treatment for an illness, which is preventable. The number of procedures has almost doubled in the last 7 years, and parents need to be aware that they should be taking their children to the dentist on a regular basis from the age of 12 months old.

Health board contacts parents following Auckland school dental clinic scare

shutterstock_561935647Representatives from Counties Manukau Health (CMH) are contacting the families of children who attended a school clinic in South Auckland amid concerns that children may have come into contact with contaminated water.

Health authorities are writing to the parents of children who attended appointments at Pukekohe Intermediate Dental Clinic between September 2016 and the 23rd January 2017 after concerns were raised about possible exposure to contaminated water supplies.

A spokesperson for the board said that there was a “very small chance” that children who received treatment during this period of time may have been exposed to water, which had not been sterilised. The risk of contamination with saliva or blood is incredibly low; however, children have been advised to attend screening checks. It is possible that children who attended the clinic may be at risk of viral infections, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. Health chiefs have emphasised that the risk is very low, and urged parents not to worry, as it’s very rare for these illnesses to be diagnosed in children in New Zealand.

CMH’s chief medical officer, Dr Johnson, said that the majority of pre-school children will have only had visual examination, and they may not require blood tests.

The problem has been attributed to equipment, rather than errors on the part of dental professionals, and an investigation has been launched.

Toddler’s Teeth Need To Be Protected From Dental Disaster

Recent news in the UK has highlighted the need for young children and parents to understand the harmful effects of a lax dental health regime. Teaching children to brush teeth can be difficult at the best of times, but our dentists are trained to the highest standards. We can help you and your child fend off harmful bacteria.

It’s important to take your children to the dentist from an early age before any phobias and fears begin to develop. A positive dental experience from an early age can help to determine a path of good oral health throughout a lifetime.

Correct Oral Hygiene Tips

Many children can find a hard toothbrush painful on the gums and should therefore be introduced using a softer children’s brush. It’s also important to keep children away from crisps, sweets and sugary juice drinks. These culprits are to blame for the high instance of tooth decay which is currently blighting the UK’s children.

The Earlier The Better When It Comes To London Kids Oral Health

We understand that when it comes to children’s dentistry it can be difficult to get your children into a good oral health regime.  It is important to realise the long term damage that can occur by ignoring your child’s tooth-time habits. Cavities are painful and unsightly stains from bacteria can discolour the teeth in a short space of time. These can be difficult to remove.

For young children it’s a good idea to help them see brushing as a positive thing to do by playing fun games or singing their favourite song for the time it takes to brush. It’s important to bring your child early to the dentist to get them familiar with a dental environment. The sights and particularly the sounds of a dental surgery can be scary for young children and they need to see that it’s a safe environment early on.

We request that you bring children for a dental check-up almost every 6 months to ensure maximum dental efficiency.  It’s important for children to start with a soft brush to use as they can be sensitive to hard brushing which can make them reluctant to continue brushing.

We can give parents further advice, help and tips when it comes to your child’s precious oral health.  You should pop into a London-based dental clinic for a chat.

Start Your Children on the Early Path to Great Oral Health in the Heart of London

When it comes to oral hygiene, it’s never too early to start taking care of your teeth and gums. Children who practise good oral hygiene from an early age are less likely to develop tooth decay. Cavities can be painful and they may also cause the milk teeth to fall out prematurely, which causes problems later in life.

Ideally, parents should take steps to protect their child’s teeth and gums from a very early age, as soon as the first teeth start to push through. Using a very soft brush to clean the teeth will help to prevent bacteria from gathering in the mouth without hurting the gums.

As soon as children are old enough to clean their teeth independently, they should be supervised and taught how to brush properly. Studies have shown that children with poor oral health are more likely to experience difficulty at school, often because they cannot concentrate because they are in pain and there is also a worry that children with decay and tooth pain will miss valuable classroom hours.

We recommend 6 monthly check-ups for children and the sooner they start, the better, as regular appointments enable them to get used to their dentist and also the unfamiliar sights and sounds of the dental surgery. We know that the clinic can be scary place for little people, but we do all we can to make it fun and completely stress-free and painless.

If you need any help or advice about teeth cleaning, choosing products for your child or getting your child to brush without having a battle every morning, our friendly dentists will be happy to help!

Baker Street

Dental Clinic

Dr Watson Chambers 102 Baker Street London, W1U 6FY

020 8563 8063

The Whiter Smile

Dental Clinic

9 Artillery Lane, London E1 7LP

0207 247 7151

Earls Court

Dental Clinic

221 - 225 Old Brompton Rd, Earls Court, Kensington London SW5 0EA

020 7370 0055

Kings Cross

LDN Dental

34 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DT

0207 278 6362