Experts claim cigarette-style warnings will prevent child tooth decay. But will it?
Some doctors and dentists are calling for photographs of rotten teeth and fat children to be printed on the front of sweet wrappers along with messages warning how excessive amounts of sugar can cause child tooth decay and lead to obesity. They point out that similar warnings on cigarette packs have helped to reduce the number of smokers and hope that messages about the risks of excessive sugary foods will lead to equally drastic falls in obesity and child tooth decay.
They also point out, quite rightly, that tooth decay is the number one reason why children are admitted to hospital and need general anaesthetic and what’s more they say that this is entirely preventable.
At Carisbrook Dental we totally agree that most incidents of child tooth decay are preventable, however, we have serious doubts as to whether the inclusion of scary pictures on sweet packets is the answer. In our professional opinion, and we see many children suffering from tooth decay problems, the real solution is education, parental responsibility and a good dose of common sense.
At every opportunity we try to emphasise the importance of not allowing children, including very young toddlers and even babies, to continually binge on sweets and sugary drinks. Far better, we advise, is for sweets and sugary snacks to be allowed only as part of a meal when saliva in the mouth will help to break down the sugars and will minimise the risk of tooth decay.
We don’t say that children should be completely denied the pleasure of sweets, but we do recommend that parents should try to educate their children that sweets are a mealtime treat.
Getting parents and children to understand the wisdom of this advice is, we believe, far more effective than scary pictures and we have found over many years that families who sensibly ration the amount of sweets and sugary drinks that their children consume throughout the day are far more likely to have healthy teeth and are much less at risk of child tooth decay.
The other important message we always emphasise is that parents should instill the benefits of adopting a good dental hygiene routine and should take advantage of the valuable information contained on our cleaning advice page. This includes, of course, regular brushing first thing in the morning and last thing before bed at night. We honestly believe that if parents encourage their children to look after their teeth and to be sensible about the amount and timing of sweet treats that it will be a far, far more effective means of preventing child tooth decay than any amount of scary pictures and slogans on sweet wrappers.
If any of your family are suffering from child tooth decay or if you would like to discuss preventative dentistry, dental hygiene or would like any teeth cleaning advice then please do not hesitate to contact us. You can call us on 0161 951 7295 or alternatively you can contact us by using the online form on our Appointments page.