Commenting on the findings, Dr Max Davie, Officer for Health Improvement at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said:
Despite being highly preventable, tooth decay remains a significant public health issue, particularly in deprived areas where children are three times more likely to experience severe tooth decay due to higher sugar diets and poorer oral hygiene. We know that poor dental health can have a major impact on a child’s physical health and quality of life, and lead to problems such as infections, eating difficulties, and absences from school.
Action is needed at a national, local, and individual level to tackle the postcode lottery in children’s oral health, and reduce the number of children having to endure uncomfortable tooth extractions, often under general anaesthetic. Reducing the amount of sugar consumed by children, particularly in fizzy drinks, is vital, as well as the provision of ongoing, regular, and easily accessible dental care.
We recommend that all children should see a dentist as soon as their first teeth come through and at least by their first birthday, and that all families should be supported from birth to implement good oral hygiene including twice daily brushing.