Health

Dental surgeons urge England’s schools to go sugar-free

Dental surgeons are calling for the government in England to encourage all schools to go sugar-free in a bid to combat tooth decay.

They say it is essential to cut sugar in school meals to tackle a condition affecting a quarter of five-year-olds.

Dentists also want more supervised teeth-brushing in schools and guidelines on healthy packed lunches.

Before leaving Downing Street, Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans to improve children's oral health.

Her government produced a green paper on tackling the causes of preventable ill health.

But the Faculty of Dental Surgery says that while progress has been made, more needs to be done.

Dentist no-shows

Tooth decay is the leading cause of hospital admissions among five-to-nine-year-olds over the last three years, its report says.

Yet figures show that 41% of under-18s didn't visit an NHS dentist last year.

And the figure is 77% among children aged between one and two, despite guidance that all children should see a dentist at least once a year.

The faculty has produced a report containing 12 recommendations to try to cut down on cases of tooth decay.

These include:

  • all schools in England to introduce supervised teeth-brushing schemes, as exist in Scotland and Wales, before 2022
  • all schools to become "sugar-free"
  • extending the soft-drinks levy to include sugary dairy drinks
  • limiting advertising and promotions for high-sugar products
  • reducing the sugar content of commercial baby foods

Prof Michael Escudier, dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: "It is incredibly worrying that levels of tooth decay among children in England remain so high – especially when you consider that it is almost entirely preventable through simple steps, such as brushing twice a day with appropriate-strength fluoride toothpaste, visiting the dentist regularly and reducing sugar consumption."

He added: "The scourge of child dental decay cannot be allowed to continue.

"Everyone needs to play their part in ensuring our children have Read More – Source

BBC

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