Paediatric Consultant Raises Concerns Over Oral Health Among Children In Wales

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Dr David Tuthill, a paediatric consultant from Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales, has raised concerns over the shocking state of oral health among Welsh children.

Dr Tuthill said that Wales ranks bottom for standards of oral health in the UK and called for more to be done to tackle oral health problems in children. Dr Tuthill said that the situation was very worrying, with children younger than five years old being admitted into hospital to have dental surgery for problems that are completely preventable. He added that there are a large number of five year old children who have completely rotten teeth as a result of poor oral hygiene and a diet that contains a lot of sugary foods and drinks.

Dr Tuthill said that he has treated children as young as three years old with completely rotten teeth and parents are not worried because they are baby teeth that are decayed; however, extractions on young children are carried out under general anaesthetic and this carries risks, especially for children. Dr Tuthill also stressed that losing the milk teeth prematurely can cause problems in later life, as the adult teeth are forced to erupt earlier than planned.

Dr Tuthill highlighted two major issues; one is diet and the other, oral hygiene. According to the consultant, children are eating far too many sugary and acidic foods and their oral hygiene regime is poor. He used the case of a family he had come across who were all using one toothbrush to emphasise the point that many people just cannot be bothered to brush their teeth twice a day as advised by health professionals.

Dr Tuthill has called for parents to take more responsibility and to ensure that their children develop good oral hygiene habits and have a healthy, balanced diet; regular dental visits from the age of 12 months are also very important.

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