Did you know that around 10% of British school children have had to miss a FULL DAY of school to receive treatment due to tooth decay?
New research from The Simplyhealth Consumer Oral Health Survey* highlighted a number of points relating to children's oral health habits.
The statistics arrive just as the government have announced new plans for a consultation on introducing a tooth brushing scheme to primary schools around the UK, with nearly a third of parents saying that they'd like their child's school to take part of provide something similar.
So why do we have so many children needing tooth extractions at such young ages? Looking into the problems parents face when trying to get their children to brush their teeth, getting them to brush twice a day for two full minutes is a challenge. I know with Lily, we struggle before school. She just wants to rush, get it done and go and meet her friends on the playground. Other challenges we've faced include "but the toothpaste is too spicy" or "but I may want to eat something again later". There's always an excuse. Lily's about to turn six, her teeth will start dropping out soon and we've been trying to really drum into her the importance of brushing.
It's estimated around 13% of children aged seven and under (Lily's age range) are brushing their teeth unsupervised. Up until recently, Lily was one of the 13% but for a ew months now, we've been sitting with her, making sure she actually does it! As well as this, 21% are just about managing to brush once a day and something needs to change.
"It's disappointing to hear that so many children are missing out on lessons at school as a result of tooth decay, especially as it's a problem that can be so easily avoided".
Catherine has suggested that another solution to work alongside brushing is to provide low-sugar alternatives in our children's lunches. Lily has a packed lunch at school so before September arrives, we'll be looking at how we can improve her lunchbox contents but surely this is something schools should be looking at when it comes to selecting caterers for school meals? Hopefully the new government initiative will offer guidance on this.
Just this week, children across the country received their GCSE results. They require a lot of hard work, time and lesson commitment to pass and that's something we install in out children from an early age. I'm a big believer that every school day is important and essential. Even last year for reception, I'd have hated for Lily to miss a single lesson as they all contribute towards her education. The odd appointment here and there probably doesn't seem like much, but if put them all together, by them time our children leave primary school, it adds up and by the end of their GCSE exams, you realise that the time lost to dental treatment from poor oral health, could have been used towards lessons, revision, extra help from teachers, so many more valuable and important things.
What can we do to help prevent damage from tooth decay?
Catherine recommends visiting the dentist every six months. These regular visits help children get into more positive habits and establish a good oral health routine. It will also mean that any potential problems can be picked up early and prevented/ treated quickly before it eats into their valuable education time.
Sugary, fizzy drinks are also something that needs to be avoided more. Catherine stated that "fizzy drinks should only be consumed occasionally as a treat and definitely NEVER at bedtimes". This comes after 10% parents admitted they'd sent their child to bed with a fizzy drink rather than a glass of water.
Want to read the full report? Read it today at www.simplyhealth.co.uk/COHS
*Online survey of 5083 adults conducted by Dynta on behalf of Simplyhealth