Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, Professor Michael Escudier, has encouraged schools to replace sugary puddings, such as cakes, ice cream and biscuits, with sugar-free desserts like cheese and savoury biscuits, fruit and low-sugar jelly and yoghurts. In 2016-2017, more than 34,000 children were treated in hospital under general anaesthetic for dental issues, and around 25 percent of 5-year-olds have visible signs of decay in at least one tooth.
Prof Escudier has urged schools to go ‘sugar-free’ and stop serving sweet treats at dinner times in a bid to promote good oral health and prevent children from exceeding the recommended daily intake of sugar. Dentists are also keen to get schools and nurseries involved with supervised brushing schemes. Research suggests that many children don’t brush their teeth on a regular basis, and supervised schemes could ensure that children brush at least once a day.
The news comes shortly after Public Health England launched an initiative to encourage healthy snacking. Studies claimed that a large proportion of children were exceeding the RDA of sugar through snacking alone, with many admitting to eating cakes, chocolate bars, sweets and biscuits on a daily basis. PHE is campaigning to educate parents and children about the calorie content of popular snacks, and suggests sticking to 100-calorie snacks, such as pieces of fruit.
Decay is the most common cause of hospital admissions among children in the UK, despite the fact that the vast majority of cases are preventable. The best ways to keep cavities at bay are to brush twice a day using fluoride toothpaste, to eat healthily and to visit a dentist every 6 months.