Why are we struggling to get a hold on poor dental health in children?

Dental caries in UK children continues to be an ongoing public concern. A recent study conducted by Oral B showed just how much of a concern it is. Since parents play a pivotal role in their child’s development, including oral health, it is very worrying that 70 per cent of parents admitted to finding it a stressful challenge to get their child to pick up a toothbrush.

As is the case with adult teeth, not brushing milk teeth twice daily will greatly increase the risk of cavities and tooth decay. Milk teeth are made more vulnerable to decay due to a number of reasons, children’s tooth enamel being relatively weaker, frequent exposure to a sugar-intense diet and exposure to high acid levels present in the mouth.

In addition to this, there are a number of other risks that threaten poor dental health in children. Many of these relate to misconceptions parents have about oral health in children.

child with a dentist

Common misconceptions about children’s dental health

At the top of the list is the misconception that since milk teeth only serve a temporary function, there is no real need to visit the dentist Soho for a check-up, some leaving this all-important check-up for when the child has its full set of milk teeth.

Leaving visiting a dental practitioner until this happens is too late. In fact, the Oral Health Foundation encourages parents to make this visit much earlier – as soon as the child’s first tooth sprouts, which is commonly around six months, but no later than the child’s first birthday. This first visit is critical to ensure that all is well and there are no worrying signs that may indicate dental problems developing down the line. It is also good that these check-up visits begin early in a child’s life so they become accustomed to the dentist and dental visits. These visits are also great opportunities for parents to gain more information about caring for their child’s teeth; good tooth brushing techniques, which dental cleaning products are suitable for children to use and the treatments available to strengthen and protect enamel like fluoride treatments.

Then there is a myth that cavities in milk teeth don’t matter. This is the myth that could not be further from the truth. Cavities and tooth decay result in incredible pain for a child that can disrupt many areas of a child’s life. Dental pain can keep a child away from school, from play and it is common for the affected child to refuse to eat and exhibit other social avoidance behaviours. Because of this pain, a child’s physical, mental and psychosocial development is negatively impacted.

To prevent dental decay, it is extremely useful to understand what causes this unwanted condition – frequent consumption of huge amounts of sugar-rich foods and beverages on a daily basis. The odd sweet treat now and then may be permissible, but this should be the exception rather than the norm. However the actual state of affairs is children consuming more fast foods and fizzy drinks (that contain unacceptable levels of sugar and acid) and sweet treats and less of the recommended fresh nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables.

Get in touch with a respected dental clinic for a check-up or for more information on how to properly look after the oral health of yourself and your family.

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