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Rotten English Teeth

(31 Posts)
dorsetpennt Fri 16-Mar-12 14:36:46

There was a program last night on the state of childrens' teeth in this country. It was ghastly to see that children as young as 4 were having most of their baby teeth taken out. There were several reasons, poor diet mainly sweets and sugary drinks being the main culprits, poor dental hygiene and never going to the dentist. [which is free to children IF you can find an NHS dentist]. I've lived abroad for a large part of my life. When I returned the last time with an 8 year old and a 5 year old I was horrified by how many sweets and sugary drinks that English children had. My children used to nag for the type of lunch boxes some of their friends had - mainly chocolate bars and crisps and a sweet drink. I hasten to add not all children had this but a lot did.We have a huge variety of sweets, biscuits etc on offer, sweets are not treated as a weekly treat but a daily treat. Sweet drinks like squash and Ribena are very popular, a lot of children go to bed after cleaning their teeth with a sugary drink. My DIL tells me she has overheard parents with young children feel it is unnecessary for toddlers to clean their teeth. Your baby teeth act as a guide for your adult teeth, imagine not having any teeth for several years and then the new ones coming in crooked.[ Don't get me started on crooked teeth - why do English people not go to an orthodontist - you can go as an adult you know]
Let's encourage our children to care for their childrens teeth and maybe we will lose the reputation we have abroad of a nation of horrible teeth. [actually joked about in the US].

jeni Fri 16-Mar-12 14:40:20

My gd has a toothbrush for her two teeth and a dentist!

Mamie Fri 16-Mar-12 14:58:36

Goodness when I look at my French friends' teeth I am hugely grateful for English dentistry. All that gold! Maybe something to do with the fact that we have never found a French dentist who uses anaesthetic....
I agree about children's teeth though, it is shocking. Can you get NHS dentists now? We didn't have any in the area for the last 10 years we lived in England.

jeni Fri 16-Mar-12 15:02:51

We have lots where I live.

JessM Fri 16-Mar-12 15:18:59

I have a relative who used to be in dental policy. His view was that it was a sad day when they stopped fluoridating water. This happened because privatised water companies were not compelled to continue the practice.

bagitha Fri 16-Mar-12 15:21:39

I keep reading the Dettol Power thread title as Dental Power. hmm

dorsetpennt Fri 16-Mar-12 16:47:32

The fluoride thing was mentioned in the program. They still use fluoride in the West Midlands and their kids have good teeth. There are NHS Dentists but perhaps like my son and his family they have been on a 6 month wiating list. I know a lot of European teeth are equally bad I was brought up in Canada and lived in the US -I know they don't have the NHS but still have wonderful teeth in comparison. It's not just lack of NHS dentists the cause the problems it's all that sugar !!!

FlicketyB Fri 16-Mar-12 17:02:25

I thought the standard of dental health in children was improving in Britain. Of course there are parents who neglect their children's teeth, and probably their own but there are and always been plenty of children who are not fed a constant diet of sugary sweets and drinks, who clean their teeth regularly and go to the dentist - and orthodontist. The safety of fluoride has always been a bone of contention but now toothpastes and mouthwashes are readily available so it should not be an issue.

Personally I find all those people in the media, particularly women, with their identikit even snowwhite teeth look quite bizarre. They look as if they were all wearing dentures produced in a huge factory that does one size and style for all. providing you have healthy teeth in a healthy mouth what else do you need?

bagitha Fri 16-Mar-12 17:21:25

Do Americans really eat less sugar than Europeans?

dorsetpennt Fri 16-Mar-12 17:21:29

FlicketyB I had thought that childrens' teeth had improved but on seeing this program and talking to a dentist friend they haven't. She blamed a large part of it is the fact that a lot of people can't get free dental treatment anymore. I have seen a lot of people live and on TV with large gaps and rotten teeth who cannot afford dental treatment. It's pretty low on the list. My dental friend said people would rather ensure their car passed its MOT then go to the dentist!!! We are still a nation of sweet lovers I'm afraid. I remember being very strict with my kids but once they got to secondary school and all that freedom, it was a battle.

FlicketyB Fri 16-Mar-12 18:19:39

Everybody makes decisions on how to allocate their money and some do place dental care low down the list, but it doesnt mean that they cannot afford it, just they would rather have something else and if you live in a rural area as I do a car can indeed be an absolute essential rated well above dental care Anyone on benefits qualifies for free dental care so the lower your income the easier it is to 'afford' dental care. There are many more NHS dentits than there were in recent years I have seen a lot of dental practices opening up with banners saying'NHS' treatment here. I know the distributionof NHS dentist's will still be patchy, but it has improved considerably.

Is a 'sweet tooth' genetic or cultural? My family, as a whole, do not have sweet teeth'. My sister even finds much fruit to sweet for her taste and I am rarely tempted to eat biscuits, sweets or cakes, but leave something savoury lying around..... My children and grandchildren, who are under 5, also have very limited appetites for sweet things.

dorsetpennt Fri 16-Mar-12 18:51:34

FlicketyB I think in some ways it is cultural - its not ALL people, but many of us with a certain lifestyle do restrict sweet intake and eat a proper diet and not all fast food . Fast food and sweet things are cheaper then buying good meat and veg and cooking it yourself. As for NHS dentists I did a straw poll of friends in my area and many of them cannot find an NHS dentist with any room left on their list. As I said my son and his wife have to wait 6 months and are paying a lot of money on dental care. Thank heavens they restrict sweets and give their childen a decent diet and dental care.

FlicketyB Fri 16-Mar-12 20:10:38

Yes, but it is not restricting sweet food but actually not liking it or wanting it. whether a beautiful homemade cake or a cheap supermarket doughnut. I have read that women develop a sweeter tooth as they grow older but I have yet to see any evidence of it. I wonder whether when older women were frequently very poor,they would crave sweet food because it packed a hefty calorie punch so provided plenty of energy.

Fast food I can see is just a question of whether you choose to cook or not

artygran Fri 16-Mar-12 20:16:16

When we moved house, I made enquiries in the area with a view to finding a dentist nearer than the one whose list we are on. Absolute no go. No-one has any openings. At least we have a dentist, so I suppose I shouldn't complain - though if you factor in the petrol required to get to him on top of his charges for a few minutes work I feel a bit hard done by!

kittylester Fri 16-Mar-12 21:44:10

We have flouride in our water and, as FlicketyB says , lots of toothpastes etc have added flouride. There are increased numbers of NHS dentists but the PCTs insist on dentists 'managing' their Units of Dental Activity (not patients!!) therefore dentists only take on a proportion of the patients who would like to be seen and gradually use up their UDAs through the year. Dentists have an allocation of funding to last the whole year and have no way of knowing who is going to come through the surgery door. So, if a dentist's allocation is 2000 patients per annum and, in month one, 500 want to be seen, that doesn't leave many spaces for the rest of the year. NHS dentists have their charges set by the government.

It is a ridiculous system which means that a good, ethical dentist cannot see everyone who would like or need to see him/her once they have used their allocation of UDAs. The dentist looks bad and the patients lose out.

There are huge problems caused by well-meaning parents feeding their children citrus fruit throughout the day, not cleaning the children's teeth afterwards and the children then suffering from acid erosion of the enamel. At the other end of the age spectrum, anecdotally, older people's taste buds seem to change and they tend to eat more sweet things.

Sorry to go on but dentists do get a bad name and most of them are just trying to do a good job and earn a living. I'll put my hobby horse back in the stable now.

Anagram Sat 17-Mar-12 21:10:18

I agree, kittylester - the present NHS system of payment for dentistry is not working. It doesn't pay them to take on a patient who needs a lot of treatment. Our own dentist went private a few years ago and we all had to sign up to Denplan or leave; when DD had her babies she was told our dentist didn't take on children, and she couldn't find an NHS dentist with vacancies within 50 miles.

grannyactivist Sat 17-Mar-12 21:46:53

As a child, teenager and young adult I had terrible experiences with incompetent dentists and even one who was suffering from mental illness and unnecessarily extracted several of my teeth before his colleagues belatedly stepped in. I now have a very good, but very expensive, dentist. I pay the bill through gritted teeth, but I'm grateful that at least I trust him to look them.
When my children were young I was paranoid about their dental hygiene; their first baby teeth were cleaned with cotton buds until they could cope with a toothbrush; sweets were restricted to once a week and fizzy/sweet drinks were a definite no-no. None of my children has needed dental work and only the youngest has developed a bit of a sweet tooth.

Faye Sat 17-Mar-12 22:34:05

In Australia there are a huge amount of people who want added fluoride out of their water supply. I was surprised to find that in Brisbane fluoride is not added to the water supply, it does seem to be everywhere. It is interesting to look up articles on what is actually in the fluoride that is added to the water you are drinking.

I also see parents not only give their small children coke, which is terrible for teeth but some put it in babies bottles. I recently met a woman whose fifteen year old daughter has never had a glass of coke.

We were horrified to see my now four year old granddaughter's first teeth appear and they were decayed and rotting as they were growing out of her gums. My daughter rushed her to the dentist. When they came through she had to have her three top teeth removed. I later found out that my sister's four year old grandson had problems with his teeth too and has some extracted, my sister thinks it runs in our family. D2 also had problems with her baby teeth and had to have many fillings by the time she was four, but her second teeth were fine. My son has no decays and he is 36 years old. I am wondering if the decays in my daughter, granddaughter and great nephew. It is puzzling as my son has no decays, D1 had only one when she was older and D2 had lots by the time she was four. She wasn't given sweets and ate the same food as her brother and sister.

yogagran Sat 17-Mar-12 23:00:11

Both my children (born in 1971 & 1974) have lovely teeth, just one filling for one of them and none for the other child. When they were small my dentist recommended fluoride tablets. They were tiny tablets all different colours, and both children had one a day. You don't see flouride tabkets at all these days. Where did they go? I'm convinced that is the main reason that their teeth are so good. My Dad was a dental surgeon so I was brought up to clean my teeth thoroughly and frequently.

Faye Sat 17-Mar-12 23:05:01

Links I forgot confused

nightowl Sun 18-Mar-12 10:19:47

Faye thanks for the interesting link, I know that the case for fluoridation of the water supply is far from proven. I have never lived in an area where this happened so have not had any personal experience, but like yogagran I remember fluoride tablets for children. I gave my eldest two the tablets for a while but I never really felt comfortable about it and stopped before I had DS2. My daughter (middle child) also had terrible baby teeth (which is why the dentist recommended the fluoride tablets). Several of them came through with no enamel and began to decay immediately. I was horrified and felt incredibly guilty as though I had done something wrong. Fortunately her permanent teeth were fine and she has had no more problems. I think that sometimes these things just happen and some people are blessed with stong teeth and some are not. However I do agree that it's essential to care for our teeth and to seek good dental care if possible. The state of dentistry in the UK is a scandal.

bagitha Sun 18-Mar-12 11:13:18

I hope it continues to be true: the state of the dentistry I've had in the UK all my life has been marvellous. I've had treatment from eleven dentists in eight different UK places: West Yorkshire, East Yorkshire, Lancashire, Dundee, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Oxford, and now in Argyll. Only one of these was 'private', and even he was NHS until the Thatcher years.

dorsetpennt Sun 18-Mar-12 18:46:50

bagitha I'm not saying Americans don't have weight issues and bad teeth - their obesity issues, are no pun etc, are huge but on average they appear to really look after their teeth. Though of course it's expensive but usually comes under your medical insurance. Where I lived they actually had a dental practice just for children - I remember taking mine there just to meet the dentist, his room, chair and instruments. 2nd visit teeth cleaning and inspection - all to ease your child in and try and stop any dentist fears. When we came back and I took them for a checkup here what a difference. The dentist was so curt and unfriendly.
Of course in the States all dentists are private and you can find one easily and change when you like - whereas here is was NHS and now private and NHS - I think its a whole different attitude. Luckily our local dentist is great but has a huge waiting list. As I've been on his 'panel' for 20 odd years I've been very lucky.
As to us eating more sweets then then US we do as we have such a huge choice and always have. I was brought up in Canada and loved coming here on visits as we loved your sweets and biscuits.

bagitha Sun 18-Mar-12 19:25:18

I'm sorry to hear of your bad experience with dentists when you returned to the UK, dorset. I took my kids to the dentist with me from babyhood, the first two in Edinburgh and the last one in Oxfordshire. The dentists were perfectly happy to have the pram in their surgery during my appointment so that the babies/toddlers could see what was going on. From about three years old the kids would get a 'ride' on the dentist's chair and he would count their teeth, and so on from there. In fact none of them ever needed any treatment (though DD3 has recently started orthodontic treatment), but they were always accepted, welcomed, and their teeth inspected in the pleasantest possible way. This has been my lifelong experience of dentists. I can't be the only one!!

nanachrissy Sun 18-Mar-12 19:31:49

No you're not Bags. I did the same with my children and they now have lovely teeth, and take their children to the dentist regularly too.