Tooth Decay in Young Children

The rise of sugary drinks and their effect on children’s teeth.

The rise in consumption of sports drinks has seen an increase in tooth decay in dental practices throughout the country.  Despite being sold as beneficial to health, most of these contain high quantities of sugar or derivatives.

Even those with less sugar contain high amounts of fruit extract which also contains sugars which, although natural, are still damaging to our teeth.

One of the most worrying rises in tooth decay though, has been in young children.

Drink Consumption

Many parents believe that they are giving their child a healthy drink when they give them fruit juices instead of sugary drinks. However, these are also very high in sugar and the way in which they are consumed seems to add to the problem.

A recent report notes that around 12% of children in the UK have tooth decay. One of the most common types of decay in the study was childhood caries which affects the child’s front teeth and has been linked to the use of fruit or sugary drinks in baby bottles or sipping cups, where the juices come into almost constant contact with the front teeth.

At Beau Monde Dental Care, your local Bristol dentist, we endeavour to provide a positive dental service for all patients from the surrounding area and offer free dental care for children when the parent is registered with us.

Part of our service is to offer advice to parents who, often misguided by what they may have read online or on social media, believe that they are doing the right thing in ensuring that their child always drinks ‘healthy’ fruit drinks instead of ones high in sugar.

Generally speaking though, these drinks should be considered as ‘treats’ and not always given as a part of an everyday diet. Water may not be quite as tempting but should be a regular feature and will hydrate without causing damage to the teeth. As with most things, ‘moderation’ is the watch word.

Supervised Cleaning

All parents will recognise how difficult it can be to ensure that their child limits their sugar intake whether through these drinks or sweets in general.  Most children love sugar and generally will burn it off during play. Unfortunately though, it will remain stuck to their teeth and therefore a good cleaning regime is essential.

Although it can all too easy to send a child to the bathroom to brush their own teeth, the fact is that, if left to their own devices, this is likely to involve little more than a cursory brushing that will do little to remove the sugar and other food debris that is stuck to or between their teeth.

Supervised cleaning of the teeth is suggested up to the age of seven or thereabouts to ensure that they are brushed correctly and sufficiently. Naturally, children develop differently and parents will know when they are capable of adequate brushing on their own.

By ensuring that the cleaning of teeth is done effectively and that the child visits our Bristol dental practice for check ups regularly, there is every chance that they will grow into adulthood with very little need for any major dental work.

For more information about our family dental care, please call us on 0117 330 3495.