UK Scientists Research Tooth Decay In Children

July 22, 2017 by Dr David Bloom

Children, Dental Health

Last Updated on

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Nearly 26,000 primary school children were admitted to hospital for treatment of tooth decay in the past 12 months, making the condition the most common reason for hospitalisation of children between the ages of five and nine, new research shows.

Statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, published in the Sunday Times, reveal that the number of primary school children admitted to hospital for tooth decay rose from 22,574 in 2010-11 to 25,812 in 2013-14. This means that each week, roughly 500 children ended up in a hospital because of rotten teeth. The results have been described by dentistry experts as shocking.

The fact that figures are rising should come as a stark warning to parents, as dental professionals warn of the damage caused by excessive consumption of sugary drinks and foods. This includes fruit juice, which many parents think is healthy for their children. Poor dietary habits are the main reason for the problem, and in most cases, the parents are responsible for putting their children in this position, experts explain.

According to Kathryn Harley, a consultant in pediatric dentistry, young patients are hospitalised either because they are in severe pain, or because their condition is so serious that treatment requires a general anesthetic. Usually, children have between four and eight teeth extracted, but it can be up to 12 or 14, she told the Sunday Times.

British researchers are launching a new nationwide study in which they will look into the various ways to treat tooth decay in children.The study will involve academics from the Universities of Leeds, Dundee and Newcastle, who will be assisted by their colleagues from the Universities of Glasgow, Sheffield, Cardiff and Queen Mary, London.

More than 50 dental practices from across the UK have signed up for the research, which will involve more than 1,400 children between the ages of three and seven.

According to official data, tooth decay is the most common dental condition among children at the age of five; more than two in five of them show signs of dental decay. Usually, tooth extraction is the most popular treatment in such cases, with just 12% of the affected teeth being filled.

The study, called FICTION (Filling in Children’s Teeth: Indicated Or Not), will take place over the course of three months and will look into various preventive measures, such as sealants, fluoride varnish and healthy eating.

It will also examine the effects of conventional filling methods and biological treatment, in combination with prevention, the University of Newcastle announced on its website.

Professor Gail Douglas, from the University of Leeds, who will take part in the trial, commented that she was looking forward to finding out what the best approach towards treating tooth decay in children was, so that it could be widely adopted in the UK as best practice.

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Medically Reviewed By:

Dr David Bloom

Reviewed by Dr David Bloom

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