March 20th, 2019
New data published by Public Health England has confirmed that over 90% of extraction procedures carried out in hospitals in England are required for extensive decay. Nine out of ten children aged 0-5 need treatment in hospital as a result of a dental disease, which is almost always preventable.
Research suggests that there has been an overall improvement in children’s dental health in the last year, but standards are falling in younger children under the age of 5. Dental problems are also still the most common reason for hospital admission among children aged between 6 and 10 years old.
Dental decay can cause severe pain and low self-esteem, and studies show that the need for extractions under general anaesthetic contributes to around 60,000 missed school days per year.
One of the main causes of decay is excessive sugar consumption. There has been a slight decline in consumption in the last year, but data shows that a large proportion of kids are still consuming far more than the recommended daily intake. The average child is taking in the equivalent of 8 more cubes than the recommended quantity.
Public Health England’s Change4Life campaign is encouraging parents and children to be more aware of sugar content, and to make healthy swaps, which will reduce the average daily intake of the entire family. Cereals, flavoured yoghurts, fizzy drinks and juices, dried fruit, and cereal bars are all products that often contain high levels of sugar. Health experts are encouraging parents to read food labels and to stick to whole grain cereals and porridge, natural yoghurt and water and milk. The Change4Life website also has information about healthy snacking, after it was revealed that many children consume the recommended daily intake of sugar through snacking alone.
In addition to making healthy food swaps, Public Health England is also eager to promote regular routine dental checks from the age of 12 months, and twice-daily brushing.
August 8th, 2018
A row over water fluoridation has erupted in East Yorkshire. Dental experts have accused local councillors of “peddling myths” and providing “alternative facts” to try and persuade people that water fluoridation is expensive and ineffective.
The British Dental Association has spoken out after Hull City Council’s councillor in charge of finance, Phil Webster, described fluoridation as “expensive, undemocratic and unproven.”
In response to the comments, the British Dental Association has accused the council of spreading inaccurate information and urged councillors to explore the possibility of introducing a scheme the body believes would prevent rates of decay from rising. Russ Ladwa, health and science chair at the BDA, said that there was a “clear scientific consensus” on the efficacy of water fluoridation, and suggested that if Hull “waves a white flag” this will set a precedent others will follow and represent a victory for “doom-mongers.”
Alan Johnson, former health secretary and Hull MP, has waded in on the debate, lending his support to dental organisations. Mr Johnson said that it was necessary to stop the “conspiracy theories” and support councils like Barnsley and Doncaster that are planning to start water fluoridation in the coming months. Mr Johnson said that scare-mongering can be incredibly harmful, and used the example of the MMR vaccine debate.
Research conducted by Public Health England suggests that councils could claw back an investment of £22 for every £1 spent on water fluoridation due to improved standards of oral health. Mr Johnson said that the scheme was a “no-brainer” and encouraged people to look at scientific evidence before making a decision.
January 3rd, 2018
Public 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.