New figures show alarming rise in dental extractions carried out on under 4’s
New figures released by the Royal College of Surgeons have revealed an alarming increase in the number of dental extractions carried out on children aged 4 and under.
Statistics published by the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons suggest an increase of 24 percent in the last decade. Ten years ago, 7400 extractions were performed on children aged 4 and under. In 2015/2016, this figure rose to 9,206. The faculty suggested that the number is not merely reflective of population growth, and claims that children’s sugary diets are taking their toll.
Lead researcher and dean of the faculty, Prof Nigel Hunt, said that the figures make it “abundantly clear” that the modern diet is having an incredibly harmful impact on children’s dental health. Dentists are treating children as young as 1 or 2 years old in hospital for a disease that is almost always preventable, and this is largely down to excessive sugar consumption.
Prof Hunt also commented that rates of uptake for dental checks are incredibly low, especially as NHS dental treatment is available free of charge for children. The latest research shows that more than 40 percent of children didn’t see a dentist in 2015/2016, despite dentists recommending at least one check-up per year.
The Department of Health is currently working on implementing a sugar tax and Public Health England is liaising with manufacturers to try and find a way of reducing sugar content in foods that are commonly consumed by children, such as yoghurts and breakfast cereals.
To try and reduce rates of decay, dentists are issuing advice and guidelines. The ‘Singing Dentist’ aka Milad Shadrooh has appeared on TV and radio shows plugging his educational videos, which change the lyrics of popular songs to make them dentistry-themed. The advice for parents is to supervise brushing from the age of 12 months, to moderate sugar intake and to ensure children see a dentist at least once every 12 months.