Parents have been urged to limit their children’s consumption of sugary food and drinks to prevent tooth decay.
The advice came as Public Health England (PHE) unveiled data that showed a fall in the level of children suffering from tooth decay of 5% since 2008. In 2008, 31% of five year olds suffered from tooth decay, a figure that dropped to 27% in 2012.
The data showed significant regional variations with a third of five year olds in the North West suffering from tooth decay compared with only a fifth in the South East. It also revealed a strong correlation between higher levels of deprivation and higher levels of tooth decay.
“Limiting sugary food and drink, supporting children to brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and regular trips to the dentist, will help prevent a great many more children suffering at the hands of tooth decay,” said Dr Sandra White, director of dental public health at PHE.
In a paper published alongside the survey, PHE said that sugar taxation and healthier eating initiatives in schools were examples of public policies that could improve oral health in children.