One in five nursery children in Brent suffer from tooth decay

Parents are being urged to take their children to the dentist more regularly (Pic credit: PA)

Parents are being urged to take their children to the dentist more regularly (Pic credit: PA) - Credit: Archant

One in five nursery children in Brent suffer from tooth decay – a third higher than the London average, according to new figures.

A survey published by Public Health England (PHE) shows 20 per cent of three-year-olds who were examined in their nursery, children’s centre or playgroup in the borough had visible signs of decay caused by too many sugary foods and drinks.

In some cases children were found to have a particular type of tooth decay called ‘Early Childhood Caries’ which can be caused by them being given sugary drinks in baby bottles or sipping cups.

In London the average was 14 per cent among youngster examined.

PHE are urging parents to avoid the practice which damages children’s upper front teeth.

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Dr Yvonne Doyle, regional director for PHE London, is calling for parents to reduce the amount of sugar they give to their children, adopt a healthier oral hygiene regime and visit the dentist regularly.

She said: “Tooth decay is an entirely preventable disease, which can be very painful and even result in a child having teeth removed under general anaesthetic, which is stressful for children and parents alike.

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“Reducing the amount of sugar consumed, establishing and maintaining healthy oral practices and regular visits to the dentist will all help to prevent tooth decay.”

In July, Brent Council launched a schools-based dental outreach programme to promote healthy teeth and gums after shocking statistics showed almost half of the borough’s youngsters were being treated for rooting teeth and diseased gums.

In addition, tooth decay is the most common cause of non-urgent admission to hospital for children in Brent due to a lack of dental awareness.

The council will be liaising with headteachers over the next few months to identify which schools want to take part in the pilot to promote healthy teeth and gums.

It hopes to provide free assessments to more than 1,000 primary pupils, working with dentists and schools to arrange the assessments and fluoride varnish application for youngsters in nursery up to Year two (age six).

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, lead member for health and well-being, said at the time: “Tooth decay is entirely preventable and this project will emphasise the need for regular brushing, avoiding sugary snacks and drinks and the importance of regular dentist visits for children over the age of one.”

Related link: Tooth decay causes highest number of non-urgent hospital admission for Brent children

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