Thinking that you don’t need to worry about your children’s teeth until their adult ones come through? Then think again. Read these government statistics on decay in children’s teeth to find out why:
- 25% of children aged 5 have tooth decay, often in three or four teeth;
- Almost 8,000 children aged six and under have had to have teeth extracted in hospital;
- In 2012-13, tooth decay was the most common reason for children going into hospital;
- In 2014-15, 63,000 children aged up to 19 went into hospital for tooth extractions.
While the decay issue is worse in the North, in 2015, 20% of five-year-olds in the South East had tooth decay.
Not even going into how much money this costs the NHS, let’s look at what tooth decay means for your children.
Teeth problems for life
Decay doesn’t sit still, it moves through the tooth and it can jump from tooth to tooth too. It can jump sideways to neighbouring teeth, but it can also get into the adult teeth that are sitting behind decaying milk teeth, waiting to come through. Not taking children’s dentistry seriously can give children dental problems for life.
Teach them how to brush
Children get more decay than adults because there is a lot more sugar in their diets: snacks, juices (acid and sugar is a sure-fire decay-causing combination) and sweets. They also have not yet mastered the skills and habits to make them diligent brushers. Brushing the back teeth well is hard to master, as is standing still at a sink for two minutes twice a day. Boring! Even for adults.
The hygienist at Crofts Dental Practice in Essex can make tooth brushing education fun.
Treatments to keep teeth safe
We can help protect your children’s teeth against decay with fluoride treatments to mineralise the teeth. We can also paint fissure sealants onto the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to provide a barrier against the acids that cause decay.
What you can do
Start bringing your children in to see us as young as possible and teach them that visiting the dentist is a positive experience, to help them create lifelong good habits for their teeth.
Much like an adult, a child with oral problems can develop other health problems. This is why preventive oral care is so crucial for your child and their developing teeth.
At Crofts Dental Practice, we are passionate about children’s dentistry in Essex and we encourage our patients to bring their children for dental check-ups as soon as their first teeth begin to appear. This can be from as early as four months to as late as 18 months. Our experienced dentists are very friendly and will make your child feel at ease through every step of the procedure. Our dental team can provide a number of preventive treatments for children, including fluoride applications and fissure sealants.
Fluoride has been used by the dental profession for many years to help prevent tooth decay, which is why fluoride is present in toothpaste and sometimes added to tap water. Fluoride helps strengthen the teeth through a process called remineralisation, where the mineral attaches to the weakened areas of tooth enamel and helps restore it. Fluoride can benefit patients of all ages, but is particularly important for children whose teeth are still developing. This is because fluoride can help them achieve stronger and decay-resistant teeth over a lifetime. Another important benefit of fluoride is that it can reverse early tooth decay.
Even if your child regularly brushes and flosses their teeth, they are still at risk of developing cavities and tooth decay. This is partly due to the fact that children tend to ignore the back of their mouth when brushing and this many encourage the accumulation of bacteria and plaque in these problem areas. For this reason, dentists recommend dental sealants as soon as your child’s permanent teeth come in.
Dental sealants are protective plastic coatings that seal the chewing surfaces of the back teeth – especially the molars – preventing food particles and bacteria from entering through the grooves of the teeth. Sealants are very effective because they can last up to 10 years, however, they need to be checked regularly to ensure that they are not broken or chipped away.