Sugary Food, Tooth Decay, and a Dental ‘Crisis’ among UK Children

There is a health crisis affecting a huge number of British children, and it has nothing to do with the sunny summer season.

Professor Nigel Hunt, dean of the dental faculty of the Royal College of Surgeons, says British children are facing a tooth decay “crisis”, with many toddlers needing to have their teeth removed under general anaesthetic.

Too Young, Too Many

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Professor Hunt says the UK is “reaching crisis point in terms of the number of children needing to go into the dental hospitals for full-blown general anaesthetics for extraction.”

He adds that almost 26,000 general anaesthetics are being given to children aged five to nine years old every year to have their decayed teeth removed.

Too Sweet, Too Bad

Fizzy drinks and sweets are also big contributors to the tooth decay crisis among children. Professor Hunt is calling for a change in the packaging of these sweet treats, saying these products should carry warning images such as those seen on tobacco products.

About one in three five-year-olds in England are suffering from tooth decay, albeit at varying degrees. Victoria-based dental practice Hermes London Dental Clinic says preventive dental care for children should start at an early age and with the help of parents. Regular check-ups while they are young ensure children will not suffer from untreated dental decay with devastating effects to their teeth.

In the same way smoking can cause lung cancer and various other diseases, people should also be discouraging excessive consumption of sugary food and drinks. This not only leads to tooth decay and poor oral health, it also has a huge impact on one’s overall health.

This is not just about fizzy drinks and candies, however. Almost all foods, including vegetables and milk, have some form of sugar. Consumers are encouraged to read food labels and choose the products low in added sugars.

To counter this, it is important to follow the age-old advice from dental professionals of brushing at least twice a day and flossing between the teeth. The earlier you start with a proper dental hygiene routine, the more likely you will avoid oral health problems.

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