High rates of tooth de­cay

More than a third of chil­dren aged five have den­tal prob­lems

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

CHIL­DREN in Hilling­don and Eal­ing have the worst teeth in Lon­don, new fig­ures re­veal.

In­for­ma­tion from a Public Health Eng­land sur­vey show that 39% of five-year-olds in Eal­ing had at least one tooth that had ob­vi­ous signs of tooth de­cay. This equates to al­most two in ev­ery five chil­dren of that age.

Ob­vi­ous signs of de­cay are de­fined as a de­cay­ing tooth present in the mouth, miss­ing teeth or fill­ings to re­place past teeth that have de­cayed and fallen out.

It means that Eal­ing has the high­est rate of five-year-olds with tooth de­cay in Lon­don, ahead of sec­ond-high­est Hilling­don which had 37.8% of chil­dren of the same age suf­fer­ing the prob­lem.

Pro­fes­sor Nigel Hunt, Dean of Fac­ulty of Den­tal Surgery at the Royal Col­lege of Sur­geons, said the study high­lights the im­por­tance of chil­dren brush­ing their teeth twice a day.

He said: “Public Health Eng­land’s sur­vey still shows that al­most a quar­ter (24.8%) of chil­dren in this age group suf­fer from vis­i­ble tooth de­cay which is al­most en­tirely pre­ventable.

“We can­not overem­pha­sise the im­por­tance of teach­ing chil­dren to brush twice a day with flu­o­ride tooth­paste and mak­ing sure they con­sume less sug­ary food and drinks.

“Par­ents also need to en­sure their chil­dren visit a den­tist at least once a year from the first year of age – 40% of chil­dren do not.”

The alarm­ing fig­ures for Eal­ing and Hilling­don con­trast to the av­er­age of 24.7% of five-year-olds in Eng­land who showed signs of ob­vi­ous tooth de­cay.

And in Eal­ing the av­er­age child who showed signs of tooth de­cay had prob­lems with 4.6 of their teeth, again the high­est in Lon­don, com­pared to the na­tional av­er­age of 3.4.

Coun­cil­lor Hitesh Tai­lor, cabi­net mem­ber for health and adults’ ser­vices said: “We are con­cerned to see this level of tooth de­cay among chil­dren, par­tic­u­larly as it’s largely pre­ventable.

“We have been un­der­tak­ing oral health work across the bor­ough, in­clud­ing train­ing oral health cham­pi­ons in chil­dren’s centres and work in schools, and we recog­nise that there is more we can do to sup­port fam­i­lies to en­sure that their chil­dren have good oral health.

“Ac­tions such as tooth­brush­ing twice a day – as soon as the first tooth comes through – and lim­it­ing the fre­quency and amount of sug­ary food and drinks to meal­times can help con­trib­ute to bet­ter oral health.

“The in­tro­duc­tion of the Govern­ment’s pro­posed ‘sugar tax’ in 2017 may also have an im­pact.”

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