Extent of child tooth decay revealed

New Public Health England (PHE) data has revealed that a child in England has a tooth removed in hospital every 10 minutes due to preventable tooth decay.

The figures indicate that approximately 141 children a day are having teeth removed, meaning nearly 60,000 days are missed from school during the year.

As the Soft Drinks Industry Levy is enforced, PHE’s newly launched Change4Life campaign is reminds parents that sugary and other fizzy drinks remain one of the main sources of sugar in children’s diets, with heightened sugar intake the leading cause of both tooth decay and childhood obesity.

Detailed on the Change4Life website, parents are being encouraged to swap sugary drinks for lower or no sugar alternatives, including water and lower fat milks and limit fruit juice and smoothies to a total of 150ml per day, only to be consumed with meals. In addition to this, parents should ensure that their children to brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, remembering to ‘spit not rinse’ to wash away the protective fluoride.

Dr Sandra White, Dental Lead for Public Health England, said: “It’s upsetting to see so many children admitted to hospital with tooth decay, but swapping out sugary drinks could be an easy win for busy families. Parents can also help prevent decay by making sure their children’s teeth are brushed twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and reducing how much sugar they’re eating and drinking.”

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