22 Oct 2014 Back

Childrens Teeth

Fruit juice is not totally to blame

Two days ago, the first item on the BBC radio news was .....well there are a number of choices; the turmoil in the Middle East and the rise of Islamic State, the ebola epidemic in Africa, the Conservative Party Conference, George Clooney’s wedding. No, none of the above. It was the fact that 1 in 8 three-year-olds has rotting teeth. This amounts to tens of thousands of children suffering from tooth decay at an age which is most definitely premature. There is unnecessary pain and suffering on the part of the children and a reasonable amount of guilt on the part of their parents.

The tabloid newspapers are quick to place the blame on fruit juices which are high in sugar and bought by parents in the mistaken belief that they are a healthier alternative to fizzy drinks such as Coca-Cola.

The surprise is not that the rate of decay is so high; it’s that it is regarded as news. There has been a recent study by Public Health England, a government agency, but anecdotal evidence from any dentist will confirm that this is no new phenomenon. And it’s not just fruit juice. Firstly, some people are more susceptible to tooth decay than others. It could be genetic, anatomical, structural or chemical or a combination of all these.

Several factors govern the formation of dental decay. Sugary foods combine with bacteria in the mouth to form acid, which eats away the teeth. So we should cut down sugary foods, brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste to get rid of the plaque which houses the bacteria and see the dentist regularly so dental health can be professionally monitored. If a child is three years old, it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure this is done. It’s not complicated, not difficult,not only the fault of fruit juice and definitely not news.

For more information about looking after children’s teeth, see :


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