Linda Edwards, Mouth Care Matters Lead at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals, together with Dentists Dr Alice Jamison and Dr Pavandeep Narwal, recently visited Sayes Court Children’s Centre in Addlestone, to speak to parents about maintaining a healthy mouth for their children.
Tooth decay is the most common oral disease affecting children and young people in England, yet it is largely preventable. It was the most common reason for admission to hospital in children aged 5 to 9 years in 2015/16 and unfortunately, extraction of teeth in young children frequently involves a general anaesthetic.
Many of the parents the team spoke to at Sayes Court did not realise that milk has the potential to cause tooth decay and often foods considered healthy can contain high levels of hidden sugar. At the end it was clear from discussions with the parents that they will be introducing lifestyle changes to benefit their children’s oral and general health; e.g. brushing teeth after consuming milk instead of before, brushing teeth twice a day instead of once a day, taking the children to see the dentist as soon as the first teeth are present and choosing more tooth friendly snacks as well as reducing the frequency of sugar in the diet.
Alex Creedon, Maxillofacial Oral Surgeon, said: "We see a large and growing number of children at the Trust for dental caries (tooth decay) - a disease process that is totally preventable. Significant numbers undergo dental extractions requiring general anaesthesia having suffered pain and swelling prior to surgery. The surgery required is upsetting to both them and their parents and has huge implications in terms of individual health and also, financial resources within the health service. On rare occasions we even see children who present with life threatening infection requiring emergency admission to hospital.”
“Education of parents is really important and will hopefully lead to long term change of dietary habit with a reduction in sugar intake; linked to an improvement in children’s dental and general health.”
Jill Edwards, Manager at Sayes Court Children’s Centre, commented: “We’d like to thank the team for taking the time to present ‘Mouth Care Matters’ to our families. We really appreciate their time in helping to convey the importance of good oral hygiene and hope that promoting this will make some small steps to improving education on this subject.”
Pictured above: A Mouth Care Matters team from Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals visiting Sayes Court Children’s Centre.