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Schools should teach children how to brush their teeth

And they should also go sugar-free to help prevent a surge in tooth decay

A call from the Facility of Dental Surgeons at the Royal College of Surgeons of England is for schools to hold supervised tooth-brushing lessons for young children. They also want schools to encourage pupils to go sugar-free amid mounting concerns over rising levels of childhood tooth decay. Traditionally and historically it has been the role of parents to instil in their children the importance of adopting a good oral hygiene routine. Now, however, more dentists are wanting schools to become further involved and to take an active role in helping to prevent the rising levels of tooth decay caused by poor teeth cleaning and overindulgence in sugar-laden foods and drinks.

This move comes as it has been revealed that pre-pandemic tooth decay was the leading reason for children in England aged between five and nine to be admitted to hospital.

Tooth decay can cause severe pain and a lack of concentration at school. At worst tooth decay can mean that the child may need to have teeth taken out under a general anaesthetic.

So while we at Carisbrook still believe that it is the parents’ responsibility to teach their children how to brush their teeth correctly and to ensure that they do not consume too much sugary food and drinks, we can appreciate the value of the proposals now being made. If schools can help to reduce the rising levels of tooth decay in young children then we of course fully support the initiative.

Helping children to learn the benefits of efficient tooth brushing at home, supervising tooth-brushing at school, encouraging parents to provide sugar-free packed lunches and of course cutting out sugar content in school meals can only be beneficial.

At Carisbrook, we have certainly noticed an increase in the incidence of childhood tooth decay and a vital part of our children’s dentistry service is to effectively treat children who have tooth cavities. Today, instead of using unsightly metal fillings we are finding that many parents now much prefer the use of white fillings, which because we can match the shade and texture of the surrounding teeth, the results are virtually invisible.

Another welcome solution is the use of onlays where the tooth is either broken or the filling required is too large to be viable. Onlays are a permanent and effective solution that are practically indistinguishable from the natural tooth.

If the extent of the tooth decay is too far developed and the tooth (especially second teeth) has to be removed, we could consider a dental implant.  This fully proven procedure permanently replaces the missing tooth.  It looks perfectly natural and is a long-term solution.

Just one other point, if we are treating young children who are perhaps nervous of their dentist, especially if they are there for a what may be a complex procedure, then we can help by providing pleasant inhalation sedation to help them relax.

So yes, whilst we do support a school’s involvement in helping children reduce the dangers of tooth decay, we still believe that the main responsibility still lies with the parents to instil a strict routine of oral health and a crucial part of this discipline is to arrange regular examination appointments with your dentist in order to minimise the risks of tooth decay and the need for further treatment.

If you would like to arrange a check-up examination for your children at Carisbrook please book an appointment now. You can call us now on 0161 766 4906 or alternatively you can contact us by using the online form on our Contact page.

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