New Initiative for Scottish Children
Regular toothpastes sold over-the-counter are ineffective at protecting the teeth of children living in deprived areas, according to the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN). This organisation forms part of the Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) programme.
Experts at SIGN believe that the most commonly used toothpastes by children do not contain enough fluoride and are therefore ineffective at protecting their teeth.
Tooth decay leads to teeth falling out or having to be removed.
The group proposes that children at risk of developing tooth decay should be using special prescription toothpastes with a high concentration of fluoride.
Normally, toothpastes sold at shops contain between 700 to 1,500 parts per million of fluoride (ppmF), while SIGN guidelines state that children at risk need to use toothpaste containing 2,800 ppmF – available in certain prescription products.
An increase in the amount of fluoride can make a significant difference to dental health
It is estimated that 50% of children in Scotland have tooth decay and the majority of these children come from the poorest communities. In primary schools, four in ten pupils are affected by the condition in the most deprived areas, whereas the figure is 18% among their peers from the most affluent areas.
It is worth noting that over the past three decades, dental health among Scottish children has improved.
The proportion of primary school pupils who had no obvious signs of tooth decay was 42% in 1988, whereas in 2013 it was 73%. This fell to 61% when data regarding children from the most deprived areas was taken in isolation, the Scotsman reported.
Read about antibacterial compounds improving the effectiveness of fluoride toothpaste.
See how you can encourage your child to brush their teeth regularly.