London - Parents should supervise children brushing their teeth until at least the age of eight, dentists said.
Dental experts at The Royal College of Surgeons made the warning in a worrying report on the state of British children’s teeth.
Rotten teeth are the primary cause for a trip to hospital for under-nines. Nearly 26 000 children between five and nine needed hospital treatment in 2013-14 – up 14 percent since 2010-11.
A total of around 46 500 children and young people under 19 were admitted to hospital with tooth decay in 2013-14.
In its recommendations to stop the rot, the RCS advised parents: “Brush teeth with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes twice a day and supervise children’s tooth brushing until they are at least eight years old.”
The report – The state of children’s oral health in England – said there may be several reasons for this rise in dental problems among the young.
These include children not visiting a dentist until it is too late and more youngsters not brushing their teeth properly.
Professor Nigel Hunt, dean of the Royal College of Surgeons’ dental faculty, said: “It is absolutely intolerable that in this day and age, in a civilised country, children are having so many teeth out for decay, which is over 90 percent preventable. We need to stop talking and have action to bring several bodies together – the Royal College of Surgeons, Public Health England, NHS England, government and industry – to make sure we improve all aspects of oral health.”
As the Daily Mail reported, the British Medical Association wants a 20 percent sugar tax on sugary drinks which can rot teeth, although the British government has said it is not considering it.
Removing the teeth of children under 18 cost £30-million in hospitals in 2013-14. Professor Hunt said: “Many hospitals are reaching crisis point in managing the number of children referred for a general anaesthetic for tooth decay.
“Some people are having to wait over six months to access that service, some even up to a year in one particular centre. During that time that child will be in pain, suffering and perhaps having repeated antibiotics. All of this is unacceptable.”
The report also suggested adding fluoride to the water supply as areas with water fluoridation schemes had less tooth decay than those without.
The report said up to 45 percent fewer children aged one to four were admitted to hospital with tooth decay in fluoridated areas.
It suggested adopting schemes run successfully in Scotland and Wales, where children are shown how to brush their teeth in school.
In 2001 the Scottish government introduced the Childsmile programme to improve dental standards among youngsters.
The scheme – which costs approximately £1.8-million per year – offers children free toothbrushes, toothpaste and two fluoride varnish applications per year.
Children attending nursery schools, and those in primary schools in deprived areas, are offered daily supervised brushing through the scheme, and families are offered advice on oral hygiene and diet.Daily Mail