In a year when the health of children’s teeth has been in the spotlight, child dental experts at Plymouth University Peninsula School of Dentistry are urging parents to keep an eye on how much sugar and fizzy drinks their children consume, and when, over the Christmas period.
This year has seen some shocking statistics relating to the health of children’s teeth. The Local Government Association issued a report which stated that around 100 children a day are being admitted to hospital for operations to remove rotten teeth and the cost to NHS is estimated at more than £35 million a year.
Public Health England announced that the average five-year-old in England consumes their body weight in sugar in a year, and a report from NHS Digital showed that almost five million children did not visit an NHS dentist in 2015/16 – an increase of 40% on the year before.
Professor Gill Jones, Director of Undergraduate Dental Studies at Plymouth University Peninsula School of Dentistry, commented:
“We do not want to be Christmas ‘Grinches’ and say children should have no sweets or fizzy drinks during the festive holiday, but there are hints and tips that parents can take on board to ensure that no lasting damage is done by their youngsters diving into the chocolate tin.”
“The Christmas period can be a time when parents spend more time with their children, so it presents an ideal opportunity to introduce some good dental care practices that can be used throughout the year.”
Here, Professor Jones provides some basic advice on looking after children’s teeth over the Christmas period – and beyond.