Irish dentists lament childhood decay rates
Childhood decay is a subject that has dominated the headlines of health sections of newspapers of late, but rising rates of decay are not a problem restricted to England and Wales. In Ireland, the situation is arguably even worse, with a study conducted by the Irish Dental Association suggesting that 10,000 extractions are carried out every year in the country.
Dr Richard Lee Kin, director of the Oral & Dental Health Symposium 2017, said that he was shocked when he came across statistics from the Emerald Isle when researching to give a talk on diabetes and oral health. He came across a study by the Irish Dental Association from 2015, which claimed that extraction rates were through the roof, with thousands of children admitted for treatment every year.
Vice-president of the IDA, Anne Twomey, agreed that the situation is incredibly worrying, and suggested that diet is the main problem. There are lots of children who have a very sugary diet, and although parents are often responsible, sometimes, there are cases when parents are misled by marketing and food advertising. Juices and smoothies, for example, are often marketed as healthy products for children, but if you look closely at the nutritional information, you’ll often see that these shop-bought products contain almost as much sugar as fizzy drinks. Other examples include dried fruit, flavoured yoghurts and milk-based products that are aimed at kids.
Dr Lee Kin also suggested that dental provision is putting children at risk. Although children under the age of 16 are entitled to free dental care, around 16,000 children missed out on the check-ups they were eligible for last year as a result of a shortage of dental nurses and dentists in the HSE’s public dental service.
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