Shocking statistics about oral health in Australia have recently emerged and a leading dentist has responded to the figures by saying that he is not at all surprised by high rates of decay among children. Chief executive of the Australian Dental Association, Stuart Gairns, said that he was not surprised by the figures, which revealed that half of 6 and 12 year olds have decayed teeth.
The major reasons to blame for the alarming figures, according to Gairns, are a poor diet, a low fluoride intake and high consumption of fizzy drinks packed with sugar. Children today are exposed to a huge range of sugary treats and fizzy drinks, which are not simply given as treats like they used to. Many children consume sweets and fizzy drinks on a regular basis as well as sports and energy drinks instead of water.
According to the ADA chief executive, children are “bathing” their teeth in sugar and this is causing severe problems. Drinking fizzy drinks now and again is acceptable but many children are drinking them all through the day and this means that the enamel surface of the teeth is constantly weakened, leaving the teeth exposed and vulnerable.
Dr Gairns also noted that a lack of fluoride may be a contributing factor. Many areas do not have access to fluoridated water, and bottled water often does not have added fluoride. Fluoride helps to protect the teeth, making them more resistant to decay. When tooth decay is high this can lead to the need for restorative treatment like dental crowns.
Dr Gairns also pointed out that rates of decay may be on the increase because children are not being educated about oral health and oral hygiene. Many parents admit that they are too busy or tired to supervise their children brushing their teeth and this also applies to preparing meals and snacks. Many parents are too busy to prepare home-cooked meals or to fight with their children about drinking water, rather than fruit juice or fizzy drinks.
In order to turn things around, Dr Gairns believes a multi-faceted approach is required. Education must be better, parents must take responsibility for their children’s oral health and diet from an early age, and older children must realise the consequences of their actions when it comes to making food choices. Regular dental visits are also extremely important and Gairns has encouraged the government to act to increase public awareness of oral health and improve access to dental services.
Talk to your Chiswick dentist to discover how you and your family can stop tooth decay from ruining your family photos, including such options as dental crowns and dental bridges.
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