A leading dentist from The Priors Dental Practice in Penkridge is calling for more education to help parents to understand how much sugar their children are having as part of their day-to-day diet.
It comes after figures from the Local Government Association (LGA) revealed that the number of tooth removal procedures amongst children over the last five years has grown by more than a quarter. Latest figures show that there were more than 40,970 removal procedures carried out on under-18s in 2014-15 compared with 32,457 in 2010-11*.
In addition, research by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has shown that the level of sugar in fruit juices, juice and smoothies showed an ‘unacceptable level’.
Dr Mark Emms, principal dentist and owner at The Priors Dental Practice in Penkridge, comments: “The figures from the Local Government Association are truly alarming. In my opinion, many tooth removals can be avoided simply by giving parents and families more information about sugar intake and the importance of regular checks on children’s teeth.
He adds: “The recently introduced ‘sugar tax’ on drinks is a step in the right direction, but along with this we need to do more to educate parents and families about other hidden sugars in so called ‘healthy snacks’, breakfast cereals or foods such as baked beans or tinned tomato soup, for instance. There is a lot of misinformation out there. Encouraging children to snack on fruit is considered the healthy option, when in fact even natural sugars in fruit should be limited to meal times to cut down on the acid erosion it can cause.”
On average a fruit smoothie contains up to 24 teaspoons of sugar and a small box of raisins contains up to 8.5 teaspoons of sugar.
Dr Emms advises: “Water is obviously the best drink for children, but as an alternative we suggest that you dilute fruit juices and limit them to meal times. Fruit should also only be eaten at meal times so that the acid level in your child’s mouth is peaked at one time, instead of throughout the day. This obviously needs to be combined with a good dental routine of brushing their teeth twice a day, and regular check-ups at the dentist.
Here at The Priors, our whole ethos is that prevention is better than cure – so we work with our patients to educate them about good dental hygiene, sugar consumption and other factors that could cause tooth decay or oral health issues.”
The Priors Dental Practice operates a number of children only after-school appointments and dedicated children’s clinics over the summer holidays to take the stress out of organising a visit to the dentist.
Mark is keen to point out that even as a private patient, regular check-ups and hygienist appointments are affordable to families – with monthly costs at The Priors from £14.50 for adults plus £4.95 per child, and no charge for under 3s within the same family.
He concludes: “If you are at all worried about your children’s teeth, or you are concerned about sugar consumption, please don’t hesitate to contact either ourselves or your own dentist to book your family in for a check-up or to enquire about monthly plans.”
The Priors Dental Practice is an award-winning private practice located on Pinfold Lane in Penkridge. In recent years it has been named the best implant practice in the UK and the best practice for patient care in the Midlands, amongst many other accolades.