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One In Three 12-Year-Olds Embarrassed To Smile

Over a third of 12-year-olds and 28% of 15-year-olds have been embarrassed to smile or laugh in past three months because of the condition of their teeth, according to a new survey.

Little girl with her hands covering her eyes, see no evil

The Children’s Dental Health (CDH) Survey, commissioned by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, is carried out every 10 years. While the latest statistics show reductions in the numbers of children with tooth decay, nearly half of eight-year-olds and one in three five-year-olds have signs of decay in their milk teeth.

Children’s teeth at risk from high-sugar diets

Dr Sandra White, Director of dental public health at Public Health England, said while it was good news tooth decay had fallen since the last survey in 2003, urgent action was needed.

“Tooth decay is a serious, preventable disease and this survey echoes the need to reduce urgently the amount of sugary snacks and drinks in our children’s diets.”

Hidden sugars in children’s diets

Most parents keep a close eye on what their children are eating and drinking. But, hidden sugars in everyday foodstuffs could be the culprits of childhood tooth decay.

Foods and drinks that are advertised as ‘healthy’ and ‘natural’ can contain high amounts of sugar. Even natural sugars, such as honey, can cause damage to tooth enamel. Products that boast “no added sugar” are sadly not always a better option either.

Healthy foods that can be high in sugar

All yogurts contain sugar in the form of lactose, a milk sugar. But what parents need to watch out for is added sugar. Some brands can have as much as six teaspoons or more per serving.

Ready meals
You wouldn’t think savoury foods contain sugar. But pre-packaged ready meals and sauces often do. Sugar and salt are cheap ingredients that manufacturers add to improve the taste. Read the labels carefully.

Fruit Juices
Fruit juice is a natural product that we automatically think is good for us. But much of the fruit juice on the supermarket shelves is made from concentrates. Concentrated juices can contain added sugar, and some are in fact no more than “fruit-flavoured” drinks packed with sugar. Even 100% pure fruit juice can cause acid that damages teeth, so it’s best consumed in moderation and only at mealtimes.

Cereals and cereal bars
Cereals are heavily marketed towards children, and we’ve come to accept these products as breakfast staples. Many claim to have whole grains, vitamins and minerals; but they all contain sugar. Look for low sugar alternatives, or give kids porridge with fruit or a boiled egg and soldiers instead.

Cereal and granola bars look like healthy lunchbox fillers. But most are choc-full of sugars and syrups. Worse still, they stick to teeth. A chunk of cheese is a better choice.

If you’d like advice on looking after you child’s teeth, please call Bridge Dental on 01332 220623.

Posted by Bridge Dental and Implant Clinic on 28th April 2015, under Children