November 27th, 2019
Figures from NHS Digital confirm that fewer than 50% of under 4’s in England saw a dentist in 2018.
Data from NHS Digital, which was analysed by the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, revealed that 57.7% of children didn’t go to the dentist last year. Over 40% of children aged between 4 and 17 didn’t attend a dental appointment. The statistics underline a trend for leaving it too late to take children to the dentist, with many parents admitting that they take their child to the dentist for the first time when they start school.
Public Health England has launched a campaign to encourage parents to take children to the dentist on a regular basis from the age of 12 months old, but the latest figures show that many are leaving it much later.
Professor Michael Escudier, dean of the FDS, described the findings as “disappointing” and highlighted the positive impact of attending regular routine check-ups. Checks only last a few minutes and they can reduce the risk of decay dramatically. In children in England, decay is the leading cause of hospital admission, and it can affect everything from general health and self-confidence to performance at school. Childhood decay can also contribute to premature tooth loss, which can increase the risk of dental issues during adolescence and adulthood.
In light of the statistics, the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons is encouraging parents to start taking children to the dentist every 6 months from the age of one. Frequent visits improve oral health and they also help children to get accustomed to the sights and sounds of the dental surgery, which lowers the risk of anxiety.
April 3rd, 2019
Researchers in the US are urging parents to keep their children’s baby teeth to combat potentially deadly diseases later in life.
Scientists from the United States National Center for Biotechnology claim that the stem cells in baby teeth are likely to be in better condition than those found in adult teeth, which may have been exposed to environmental hazards. Stem cells play a valuable role in the regeneration of new cells, and could help to save lives, according to the research team. It is thought that in some cases, using stem cells from milk teeth could eliminate the need to try and obtain stem cells from the bone marrow, which is a more complex process.
Although using stem cells from milk teeth is a relatively new concept, researchers believe that it could become much more commonplace in the near future. Stem cells could be used to treat some forms of cancer and to try and prevent heart attacks, and it’s also possible for the cells to facilitate bone growth, to regenerate tissue in the liver and eyes and to treat diabetes. Cells can be harvested from baby teeth up to 10 years after the tooth has been lost.
A trial in China revealed that stem cells taken from milk teeth helped to restore feeling and sensation in damaged adult teeth. Songtao Shi, from the University of Pennsylvania, which was involved in the study, explained that the treatment gave patients the ability to feel again, for example, to experience hot and cold. The university team is now planning to work on a trial that determines how using stem cells from a child can impact other people.
April 11th, 2018
Government 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.
March 7th, 2018
Parents 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.
February 1st, 2017
Representatives 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.
September 10th, 2012
It’s a lovely time for any couple when they decide to settle down, get married maybe and decide to start a family- it truly is a romantic adventure you are about to embark on in London, but to make that adventure work, there is a lot of time that you as parents have to put in, in order that your kids grow up healthy and have the best start in life. One of the biggest issues as they grow up, is their teeth, as their mouths will go through many changes. From the moment they are born, their teeth start to grow and your first obstacle is when they break through the gums as this is not only painful for your child, but the mouth is very vulnerable to infection and after that, decay. This is the time to work with a paediatrician to help you through these choppy waters. Then, the next problem is when the secondary teeth start to appear, by which time you should have chosen a dentist- this is an important factor as keeping in with a good family dentist can help to build up a good record of your kids teeth. Then, their teeth may need straightening later on. All of these problems and treatments will costs money to put right, so from the very beginning, you will have to ensure that you have your family covered with dental insurance or a payment plan so that you can be sure that your kids will have the best possible oral start in life and that their teeth will last them through their lives.
March 5th, 2012
Children can be unruly, unmanageable and uncooperative at the best of times. However, when it comes to brushing their teeth and visiting the dentist, this childhood rebellion goes into overdrive. Every parent knows, or remembers, the kicking and screaming matches accompany a dental check-up or a bedtime ritual. But what are the true consequences of admitting defeat and growing neglectful when it comes to your children’s dental health?
Cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, fillings and abscesses are just a few of the conditions your child could be subject to if their oral hygiene is allowed to slide. Most of these problems are initially caused by the build up of plaque and food debris in the mouth and around the teeth. This accumulation can lead to tooth decay or the formation of hard tartar (the cause of gum disease) and bacteria in the oral cavity.
Parents in the City of London must be aware of how they can ensure that their children’s teeth stay happy and healthy; firstly, cleaning the teeth and the tongue twice a day is imperative as this is the best way to ensure that plaque isn’t allowed to collect in the mouth. If possible, flossing should be completed at least once a day as this can help remove plaque from stubborn areas.
In addition, parents should manage their children’s diet in such a way that reduces that amount of sweets, chocolate and ice-cream they consume. These foods all contain a high level of sugar, the ingredient that is responsible for cavities and fillings.
Regular dental check-ups are the final step in providing good health care for your child. Not only will your dentist be able to keep on top of any potential problems, they will also be able to instil reassurance that there is nothing to fear from a visit to the dentist.
January 5th, 2012
A few pointers for your child’s smile in London
So, you have decided to have kids in London and now you have to look after them- especially their teeth. Now this can be a big wake-up call, but if you take a step back and consider what you went through and are still going through, you can apply this to your children as they grow to ensure they have the best teeth in the world. From a baby, they will teethe and suffer from the ongoing process of developing, but if you have the right people on board such as a good pediatrician and dentist at this early stage, then you will be in safe hands. But you have to do a lot of work yourself too. There are some great herbal soothers around that can help to make the passage of your child easy as their teeth break through- it’s all about transferring your wisdom to your offspring. Tooth decay is always a threat in children and it is not just about how you teach them to clean their teeth as they get older, it can also come down to what you feed them as well. Diet is so vital in young children and if you get this right, they will be given the best opportunist start in life, because beyond teething comes secondary teeth, possible braces and then wisdom teeth. Of course it is never easy, but if you apply a bit of common sense, your child will be ever thankful for the smile they exude in later life.