The top ten dental gifts for Christmas 2023
1st December 2023
If you're shopping for either presents or stocking fillers, here's a list of our top ten dental gifts. Do you… read more
Nearly 500 children a week are being admitted to hospital with rotten teeth, NHS figures show.
It is now the main reason for youngsters needing hospital treatment and dentists say the culprits are fruit juice and fizzy drinks.
Most children need between four and eight of their baby teeth extracted, although some are having all 20 taken out.
Figures also show that more than a quarter of five-year-olds have some degree of tooth decay and in some areas of England it is well over a third.
Only last month new NHS guidelines urged the public to slash sugar intake to as little as five teaspoons a day over concerns that it is to blame for rising rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Experts are also worried that sugar is behind an increase in tooth decay in children and could affect their ability to learn.
Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that 25,812 children aged five to nine were admitted to hospital for dental problems for the year 2013/14.
This is a 14 per cent rise in three years; in 2010/11 there were 22,574 such admissions.
Kathryn Harley, a consultant in paediatric dentistry at the Edinburgh Dental Institute, said: ‘We have children who require all 20 of their baby teeth to be extracted. It beggars belief that their diets could produce such a drastic effect.The high level of extractions is being blamed on children consuming too many sweets and soft drinks
“They are going into hospital because they are either presenting with acute problems with pain or because the stage of dental disease, the number of teeth with decay, is such that they need a general anaesthetic.’
She said most children will require ‘maybe four or eight teeth to be extracted, quite a few will require ten, 12 or 14’.
Graham Barnby, honorary vice-president of the British Dental Health Foundation, said: ‘It all relates to the consumption of sugary, fizzy drinks.’
The NHS says women should limit themselves to between five and six teaspoons of sugar a day and men seven to eight.
Currently, Britons consume an average of 15 teaspoons daily.
The Government’s chief advisor on obesity, Professor Susan Jebb, also urged parents to ban fruit juice and fizzy drinks from the dinner table and stick to water.
A glass of fruit juice has five teaspoons of sugar while Coca-Cola has eight. This would take a person over the limit before even eating.
Separate figures from Public Health England show that 27 per cent of five-year-olds have tooth decay – rising to 35 per cent in the North West.
A spokesman for NHS England said: ‘Parents of young children should discourage them from drinking fizzy drinks.’
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