Almost nine out of ten hospital tooth extractions among children aged 0 to 5 are due to preventable tooth decay, according to data published by Public Health England (PHE) today.

Although the oral health of children is improving, significant inequalities remain and tooth extraction is still the most common hospital procedure in 6 to 10 year olds.

Tooth decay can cause problems with eating and sleeping, and results in at least 60,000 days being missed from school during the year for hospital extractions alone. Tooth decay could be prevented by cutting down on sugar and practicing good oral hygiene.

While children’s sugar intakes have declined slightly in recent years, they are still consuming the equivalent of around 8 sugar cubes more than the recommended daily limit – often eating 11g just at breakfast. Consuming too much sugar can lead to an increased risk of obesity and illnesses such as type-2 diabetes.

Change4Life is encouraging parents to ‘Make a swap when you next shop’ and switch to lower sugar alternatives to help reduce their children’s sugar intake from some everyday products, such as sugary drinks, yogurts and breakfast cereals.

Dr Sandra White, Dental Lead for Public Health England, said:

Children are consuming far too much sugar each day, and this can have a very serious impact on their oral health.

Parents can help reduce their children’s sugar intake by making simple swaps when shopping and making sure their children’s teeth are brushed twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Small, consistent changes like these can have the biggest impact on children’s teeth.


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