Once again the call for there to be more conversation around the topics of dental decay and obesity in childhood has been taken up by yet another public health authority. The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD), in a recently published position statement, has drawn a link between children with weight concerns (underweight, overweight or very overweight) and dental decay.
The frequent consumption of foods and beverages containing excessive amounts of sugar remains the leading cause of threats to the quality of life in children. As high as 23.3 per cent of children in England aged five are said to suffer from tooth decay with 2.4 per cent of them needing to have teeth extracted because of the decay.
Considering the undesirable consequences of tooth decay (pain, trauma of having teeth extracted) and obesity, urgent steps need to be taken to prevent these major public health challenges.
What can be done to curb excessive sugar consumption
The BSPD supports the many healthy lifestyle initiatives put in place to reduce children’s consumption of excessive sugar. Among these worthy initiatives is the Change4Life programme (in England and Wales).
Additional measures that can be taken by the authorities to help turn the tide include the continued support of imposing a sugar levy on sugary soft drinks products and placing restrictions on the marketing of unwholesome foods.
There is some merit in a consolidated approach to tackling tooth decay and obesity in childhood with the various public health agencies working together to achieve the common goal. At the individual level, families can play their part too. Parents are urged to take proactive action like ensuring their child sees a Dentist Brentwood on a regular basis to check on oral health. Knowing first-hand the destructive impact sugar can have on teeth, dental practitioners can also advise on a healthy diet and which foods and snacks are kinder to teeth.
Preventing tooth decay and obesity with diet
It sounds simple enough – reduce the amount of sugar consumed (this includes solid foods as well as drinks) on a daily basis and you curb the prevalence of tooth decay and overweight children. In practice, this is much more challenging as we look to more quick and convenient meals to support harassed and hectic lifestyles. Readily available foods may be convenient but they are more often than not low in nutritional value and very high in tooth-destroying sugar and acids.
The recommended healthy balanced eating plan advocates limiting the consumption of certain foods and beverages that put overall health at risk. Guidelines include the following:
- Restrict consumption of fruit juices
- Eat more high fibre foods
- Choose healthy dairy choices
- Choose healthier snack options
Choosing the right foods and drinks goes a long way to protecting teeth but this is just one of the many ways to ensure oral health. Another great measure is to visit a reputable dental clinic. A dental practitioner can implement a variety of preventive measures to keep a tight rein on teeth decay. Arrange for a consultation with a dental practitioner at Coptfold Dental to discuss the many treatment options available.