15th October 2014
There has been a lot of talk about tooth decay in the news recently with the shock report from Public Health England earlier this month revealing that 1 in 8 of all British three year old’s suffer from tooth decay.
We have produced this useful short guide to children’s tooth decay so you know the facts.
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay is a common problem that occurs when acids in the mouth dissolve the outer layers of the teeth. It is caused by consuming too many sugary foods and drinks too frequently. It is important to address these lifestyle issues at a young age to reduce the risk of further tooth decay happening in permanent adult teeth.
What are the symptoms?
Often tooth decay does not cause any symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage. As the problem develops symptoms will appear including:
- Tooth sensitivity when eating something hot, cold or sweet
- Black spots appearing on the teeth
- Bad breath
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
What causes tooth decay?
Tooth decay is the result of 2 factors: High frequency of sugary foods and drinks combined with bacteria in the mouth.
Here’s an overview of what happens: Bacteria combined with small food particles and saliva form a sticky film known a plaque. Every time you eat or drink anything containing sugars or carbohydrates, the bacteria react and form acid. The acid attacks the teeth and starts to dissolve the tooth enamel. The attack can last for an hour after eating or drinking, before the natural salts in your saliva cause the enamel to ‘remineralise’ and harden again. Over time if the plaque is allowed to build up, the acid will break down the outer surface of the tooth and will reach the soft part at the centre of the tooth. This process will cause a hole in the tooth, known as a cavity which may result in requiring a filling, or worse the removal of the tooth.
Can baby teeth be treated for tooth decay?
Yes but treatment of decay in toddlers is difficult because of their limited understanding and attention span – it is far better to prevent it rather than treat it.
The main misconception we find is that parents are not aware of the importance of baby teeth thinking that these teeth are only temporary. It is not uncommon for us to hear of fizzy pop such as Coca-Cola being put into baby bottles.
Mistreating baby teeth has a detrimental effect on long-term oral health. Baby teeth are important for providing a place for permanent teeth to erupt into, for chewing and for speaking clearly.
If tooth decay is detected at the early stages, fluoride varnish can be applied to stop further decay. If tooth decay is severe, sadly it may result in the tooth or teeth being extracted which can be a traumatic experience for any child and parent.
Know how and when to brush – Brush teeth, twice a day once in the morning and once before bedtime with a toothpaste containing fluoride:
- Up to the age of three: use a smear of toothpaste containing 1000ppm fluoride
- Age three and over: Use a pea sized amount of toothpaste containing 1450ppm fluoride
There are also things that a dentist, dental therapist or hygienist can do to further protect children’s teeth from decay:
- Fluoride varnish application
Fluoride varnish can be applied to both baby teeth and adult teeth. The process involves painting a varnish containing high levels of fluoride onto the surface of the tooth every six months to prevent decay. This works by strengthening tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay.
- Fissure sealants
Fissure sealants can be done once a child’s permanent back teeth have started to come through (usually at the age of about six or seven) to protect them from decay. This is where the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are covered with a special thin plastic coating to keep germs and food particles out of the grooves. The sealant can last for as long as 5 to 10 years.
Please speak to your dentist about the options.
How can I prevent tooth decay?
The good news is that tooth decay is entirely preventable hence the importance of educating children at an early age of the importance of both a healthy diet and of tooth brushing.
To keep children’s teeth healthy, Public Health England is encouraging parents and carers of young children to:
- Reduce the frequency and amount of sugary foods and drinks consumed.
- Sugar should not be added to the weaning foods or drinks.
- Aim to introduce drinking from a free-flow cup from 6 months of age and stop feeding from a bottle from 12 months of age.
- Start brushing children’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears and supervise their tooth brushing until they are 7 or 8 years old. Brush children’s teeth twice a day, including just before bed using fluoride toothpaste.
- From the age of 3, use only a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, for younger children a smear.
- Use only sugar free medicines.
3rd October 2014
Shock Report from Public Health England reveals that 12% of three year olds are suffering from tooth decay
A report released this month from Public Health England revealed that 1 in 8 of all British three year olds suffer from tooth decay. The statistics in the report come from the first national survey of the oral health of three year olds. In total during 2012/13 50,000 youngsters were examined at their nursery, children centre or playgroup and it was found 12% of children had evidence of tooth decay, with an average of three teeth that were decayed, missing or filled. At Queensway Dental Clinic we take our responsibility to try and prevent tooth decay in young children very seriously. In response to this shocking report we would like to share with you the work we are doing to promote preventative dentistry and educate children and their parents in our community on the risks of hidden sugars in food and drinks that are damaging teeth at such an early age.
- Longer appointments for children with our dental therapists We have a team of 5 dental therapists who have an important role in working with child patients to promote dental health and instigate an appropriate preventative regime including the application of fluoride varnish if required, to provide extra protection against tooth decay.
- We have a purpose-built preventative dentistry unit run by a dedicated Oral Health Nurse Every day we deliver important advice to children and their parents on brushing, tooth friendly diet and how to improve oral health. This is a free service available to all patients.
- We run an educational program for the community fronted by Tilly and Toby the Tooth Troopers We have so far visited and delivered an interactive presentation to over 800 pupils in the North East and plan to carry on this important oral health project throughout 2015 by working with the Greggs Foundation and visiting breakfast clubs throughout the region.
Tooth decay is a disease that is completely preventable. By following these top tips it will greatly lower your child’s risk of developing tooth decay and improve their overall oral health.
- Brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste once in the morning and once before bedtime (for children under 3 use a smear of toothpaste containing at least 1000ppm fluoride and for children aged 3 and over use a pea-size amount of toothpaste containing at least 1450ppm fluoride.)
- Remember to supervise your children’s brushing at least until the age of 7.
- Spit out the toothpaste after brushing but do not rinse your mouth.
- Restrict treats to meal times and avoid snacks and sweet tasting drinks in between meals or before bedtime.
- Be aware of hidden sugars – always read the labels on packaging as terms such as ‘no added sugar’ can be deceiving.
- Visit your dentist regularly.
If you would like the Tooth Troopers to pay a visit you your child’s nursery or school, please contact Coral Milner on 01642 554667 ext 283 to find out more information.
1st October 2014
Dr Will Carter and Dr Ian Lane spent 2 days in Finland last week at the Planmeca headquarters in Helsinki. A leading dental technology company, Planmeca specialise in the design and manufacture of high technology dental equipment and solutions.
Dr Carter took a few pictures for us whilst they were away.
Dr Carter said “This old radiology unit (above) is one of the first in the world, dating back to 1930, thankfully we have now moved on to ultra-low dose 3D-CT scanning with digital colour face mapping … The future is coming to Billingham!”
Below is a photo of Dr Carter using the 3D CT scanning machine which Queensway Dental Clinic has invested in. The cone beam CT scanner with integrated 3D facial mapping uses Planmeca Ultra Low Dose™ imaging protocol, enabling CBCT imaging with an even lower patient radiation dose, making it safer for our patients whilst also providing a much higher level of accuracy in treatment planning. Arriving within the next few months the CT scanner will mainly be used when treatment planning for dental implants, oral surgery and BTX.
23rd September 2014
Are you unhappy with your smile? Get the smile you have always wanted at Queensway Dental Clinic.
If you have any concerns with your teeth or would like to improve your smile, we would like to invite you to our practice open evening on Tuesday 21st October from 5.30pm-7.30pm.
The evening will be an excellent opportunity to discover the private dental treatments available at Queensway Dental Clinic, ranging from dental implants to tooth whitening,
Our dentists will be available for a one-to-one discussion, allowing you to gain more information about our services and explore how we can help. Our Treatment Advisor will also be at the evening and can advise on our flexible finance options.
If you would like to register to attend the evening, please complete the form below or alternatively call 01642 554667.
Thinking about braces? Queensway Orthodontics are also holding an open evening. Find out more by visiting their website.
16th September 2014
Our internet at the practice is currently down meaning we are unable to access emails. If you need to contact the clinic please do so by telephoning 01642 554 667. We will let you know as soon as everything is back up and running. Thank you for your patience.