Tooth decay top cause of admissions among children

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30 July 2014

MORE children in England require hospital treatment for tooth decay than for any other cause according to statistics released from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

Figures from the HSCIC show more than 25,812 children aged five to nine were admitted for tooth decay in the year 2013-14, an increase of more than 3,000 in three years. The next most common cause of hospital admission was for tonsillitis with 11,522 cases.

Many of the children presenting with decay need four or more teeth removed and some children have required all 20 baby teeth taken out. Diets high in sugar and fizzy drinks are a major factor in the increase according to the British Dental Health Foundation.

Chief Executive Dr Nigel Carter said: "It is incredibly worrying to see that almost 26,000 five to nine year-olds treated in hospital for tooth decay.

"This sets the child up for a potential lifetime of poor dental health and dental phobia. It is the view of the British Dental Health Foundation that this is parental neglect in three areas, all of which are basic oral hygiene principles.

"It is neglecting supervised brushing twice daily with the use of a fluoride toothpaste. It is the failure to manage a child's diet due to constant snacking on sugary foods and snacks, which in turn is failure to look after their general health, and it is neglecting their responsibility to take them to the dentist from age 2 and a half when their teeth are coming through.

"Proposals such as the introduction of a duty on sugary drinks and decreasing the levels of sugar in foods have both been put forward in the last 12 months. From an oral health point of view it is how often sugary foods and drinks are consumed, which heightens the risk of tooth decay. If parents remember this message, there will be an inevitable reduction in consumption and benefits for both general and dental health."

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