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Back to school: 11 fascinating kid's dental health facts you really need to know

18th August 2015

Photograph of Back to school: 11 fascinating kid's dental health facts you really need to know

It may be the school holidays at the moment and we all remember those halcyon days of never ending summers but the new term is closer than you think. The constant reminders are everywhere with displays selling pristine white shirts and pencil cases taking pride of place in the nations supermarkets.

For parents across Britain this may be comforting news, as around about now your children will have destroyed almost every part of your once tidy house. Countless toy parts will have been lost or broken and if you suffer the unparalleled pain of stepping on a building block again while hearing "I'm bored" repeated for the 526th time, you may just crack.

In these often frantic and confusing times the British Dental Health Foundation wants to remind you to take a few minutes out to consider the importance of looking after your kid's teeth ready for the new term. That's why we compiled 11 interesting facts and figures about children’s dental health that you really need to know, because after all a healthy mouth equals a healthy mind and body.

1. Nearly half of 8 year olds have visible signs of decay on their teeth
A startling fact no doubt, also something that with the correct measures can be prevented. Ensuring your children brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste is the first step to preventing tooth decay.

2. Good dental health is not expensive
A tube of toothpaste can cost less than £1 so there is no excuse for 21 per cent of children from low income households to suffer from "severe and extensive" tooth decay.

3. Some ‘healthy drinks’ have far more sugar in than you think
Tesco recently pulled Ribena cartons from their shelves but this is not the whole story, some ‘healthy’ fruit juices have been found to contain more tooth rotting sugar than an equivalent size can of Sprite! Why don’t you switch up these for milk every now and again and give your kids teeth a break.

4. Four in five of children are attending the dentist regularly
This is a good start, but this figure should be much closer to 100, especially when you consider that NHS dental treatment is free for children.

5. The proportion of children with plaque has decreased by 10 per cent in 10 years
At this rate plaque will be eradicated in children by 2079, to put that into perspective the children included in this study will be almost 80 years old. We hope it does not take a lifetime for this to happen when a regular oral health routine will be much quicker.

6. Only three quarters of children say they brush their teeth twice a day
Working with schools and nurseries and highlighting the importance of dental health from an early age is influencing attitudes to dental care. It is important that kids are getting the message on good dental health and with their input this figure can undoubtedly increase. The kids are getting the message and we hope they help to spread this further.

7. One in seven children are classed as having severe or extensive tooth decay
Take a moment to think about that word ‘severe’. Synonyms include; extreme, terrible, awful and intense, not words which should ever be used to describe a condition which is entirely preventable and causes such unnecessary suffering to our children. Developing a good daily oral health routine at a young age will help to develop healthy attitudes to dental health and fight this head on.

8. English children have the best teeth in the UK
More kids from England are described as having ‘good overall oral health’ compared with Wales and Northern Ireland. An increase in the 10 per cent of the UK population receiving water with optimal levels of fluoride will help to ensure all of the UK’s children have reason to smile. A small change can have a big effect.

9. Children are more relaxed the earlier they start to visit the dentist
Children sense fear in their parents and with one in seven adults suffering from dental anxiety our children are being taught that they have something to fear. To show children they have nothing to fear they should visit the dentist as young as possible in order to get to build familiarity with their dental team.

10. All baby teeth should appear by the age of two and a half
As soon as teeth appear a visit to the dentist is required. Who knows they may even get a free lollipop (sugar free obviously) and be your best friend for taking them. Your children will thank you when they have wonderfully healthy teeth later on in life due to forming great habits at such a young age, we much change the hugely worrying fact that.....

11. Bad teeth are stopping our kids smiling
This is very unsettling; more than one in three 12 year olds are embarrassed to smile due to the condition of their teeth. Can you imagine a time when your child simply cannot smile due to their teeth? This cannot continue and by knowing the facts something can be done.

So ahead of your kids going back to school, book them into the dentist for a check-up and make sure they start the school year with a smile....even though it may not last very long when they get their maths homework.

Get more tips and information about how to look after children’s oral health visit the British Dental Health Foundation at www.dentalhealth.org or call the Dental Helpline on 01788 539 780.

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