Statistics from the Welsh government have revealed a worrying trend in the dental health of young children. The number of Welsh people under the age of five who have had to have a filling or sealant restoration has doubled in the last four years.
During the period of 2008-09, 505 children from Wales had fillings or sealant restoration treatments. For 2012-13 that number has risen to 1,080, which is an increase of 113 per cent.
In the same four years, the number of Welsh children between the ages of five and 15 having fillings or sealant restoration treatments has increased from 10,827 to 15,487.
These figures have obviously raised concerns about the state of dental hygiene in Wales, and how best to ensure that Welsh children grow up with healthy teeth.
Alison Lowe, a dental hygienist in Cardiff, said: “This is definitely to do with diet. Sometimes the problem can be that parents attempt to be healthy with smoothies and things but they have got a high level of sugar in them.”
However, the solution to this dental health issue is possibly more to do with education than anything. If parents are unaware of how to properly look after their children’s teeth, then more information needs to be made available to show them.
There are many ways in which dental marketing can be used to advertise this. Posters in dental waiting rooms, for example, could highlight the dangers of sugary foods, including the smoothies mentioned by Ms Lowe.
Education is certainly an important factor according to Ms Lowe, who said: “Often, it’s down to people not knowing what they should be doing to look after children’s teeth and not getting into routine brushing, especially before bed.”
Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said: “It’s extremely worrying that so many children have to be given fillings and sealant restoration at such a young age. It is vitally important that the Welsh Government looks to improve education available to young people so that they know the huge importance in looking after their teeth.”