Child dental health in London is poor. Over a quarter (26%) of 5-year-olds in London suffer from tooth decay, which is higher than the national average of 23%. Bad dental health is unfairly spread around London too; a child in Bexley has much better teeth than one in Brent.
Poor dental health also has knock-on effects on children’s development and mental health. It can impact a child’s ability to sleep, eat, speak, play and socialise with other children.
There’s a financial cost too. Tooth extractions in hospital cost £836 to treat. In 2016-17, nearly 11,000 children under the age of 15 had tooth extractions in hospital. That’s a cost of more than £9 million.
The London Assembly Health Committee discussed how to improve the dental health of children in London on Tuesday 14 March at City Hall and we thought we would share 4 tips on how to improve your child’s dental health.
- Say Aaah: Take kids to the dentist early – as soon you can start seeing teeth it’s a good idea to take them to the dentist and have them get used to the new environment, the smells and overall experience.
- Diet: Avoid sugary foods and fizzy drinks, most of these have no nutrients and too much sugar which can contribute to bad oral health.
- Brush – most children’s centres and health visitors will give your baby their first tooth brush. Even if they don’t brush properly to start with – encourage them to become familiar with a toothbrush and to chew it and play with it.
- Set a good example: Children see their parents as role models so make sure they see you eating healthy foods, drinking water and brushing your teeth.
Follow us @LondonAssembly and take part in the discussion on this matter using #AssemblyHealth and #ChildDentalHealth