A survey conducted in the South West revealed that children eat up to five times more sugary foods during the holidays. In response to poll findings, dentists are keen to encourage parents to use time off to book dental appointments, but, unfortunately, it looks as though experts face a battle. The survey revealed that parents rated activities including shopping for new school shoes, play dates with friends and going on holiday as more important than taking their child to the dentist.
Although 4 out of 5 parents involved in the survey admitted to being concerned about their child’s sugar intake, most admitted that they adopt a much more relaxed approach to diet during the holidays, with fizzy drinks and ice creams named as the most common treats. Some also said that they are less strict about oral care when their kids are not at school, with 3 in 5 admitting that their child often forgets to brush their teeth and 40% saying they don’t supervise teeth cleaning.
Tooth decay is the leading cause of hospital admissions among children in England, despite the fact that it is almost always preventable. Experts have blamed sugar consumption and poor oral hygiene habits for a rise in extractions.
Experts are encouraging parents to keep an eye on their children’s’ diets, but also to take advantage of NHS dental services, which are available free of charge. Children should be going to the dentist every 6 months from an early age, but research suggests that only 58% of 5-9 years old saw a dentist in 2016/2017. Routine checks are painless, they reduce the risk of decay, and they also provide parents with access to information about preventative measures such as fluoride varnish and advice about diet and dental hygiene.