Sugary foods and drink are very popular, there’s no two ways about it, and they have been intrinsically linked to childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay and gum disease. There have been many attempts to remove sugar from our diet such as removing soft drinks from kid’s menus. Even though this seems like a no brainer given the numerous health risks associated with sugar, there has been a sizable amount of pushback, especially from the sugar industry. In the United States, tooth decay remains the most common childhood disease, with half of all children and teens having cavities in their permanent teeth, according to the Center for Disease Control. A recent press release from the British Dental Associate indicates that our neighbors across the bond are also reeling from this epidemic.
A Look at the Numbers
The press release urges British lawmakers to try and reinstate a failed sugar tax that was aimed at addressing childhood obesity. A recent study indicated that “over 14,000 [British] children aged 5 and under had been admitted to hospital for tooth extraction in 2014/15” and that there was a “10 percent increase in children requiring tooth extractions in the last four years.” Tooth extractions are the leading cause for hospital admissions for children under 5 years in Britain. What is an entirely preventable disease is costing British taxpayers millions of dollars.
Prevention is Key
It is important to realize that tooth decay can be avoided entirely and that good habits are best developed in early childhood. Children should not only avoid sugary foods, but should also be given healthy alternatives, such as whole fruits and vegetables. Additionally, children should be brushing at least twice per day with American Dental Association (ADA) approved toothpaste and flossing at least once per day. Regularly visiting a dentist is also important. Not only is it cheaper to simply have your teeth cleaned than getting a more substantial procedure such as dental fillings, but it also helps children get over any fears that they may have of going to the dentist. Many practices, Dr. Matthews included, offer sedation dentistry for those whose fear of the dentist has kept them away in the past.
Dentists are not a necessary evil, but rather an integral part of overall health and wellness, and just as important as regularly visiting a doctor. Dr. Matthews and the team at Dan Matthews, DDS are dedicated to maintaining healthy natural smiles and will work not only to keep your teeth and gums healthy, but inform you of proper brushing and flossing techniques as well as foods and drink that you should stay away from. Why Wait? If you live in the Austin area, please give us a call at (512) 520-0606 to schedule an appointment today.