One third of Glasgow's most deprived three-year-olds have tooth decay, a new study has claimed. The University of Glasgow's Dental School noted that, on average, the poorest children had one-and-a-half teeth which had been filled, were decaying or missing. In comparison, the researchers found that the least deprived were missing a third of a tooth on average.
Researchers used the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, which uses factors like income, housing, education and employment, to assess the level of deprivation for each child.
There is no reason is today's society, for any child, from any background, to have excessive tooth decay. Sixty years ago I lived in what would be called a 'deprived area' today, yet I'm not aware dental decay was any more prevalent than it was in the posher parts of the city. I can speak with a little knowledge because my dentist was my godfather and his wife, my godmother, who was what would now be called the practice manager. No fancy toothpastes then, only a dentist who insisted teeth were brushed three times a day. The school dentist and nurse regularly checked us wee ones to ensure we were obeying orders. School dental checks increased once sweeties came off ration as it was known sugar caused dental decay. A letter was sent to the parents from the school dentist if he wasn't satisfied. That was enough to shake the most indolent parent into action.
Therefore, although I'm not questioning these findings, I am saying money has nothing to do with children's teeth. Parenting has everything to do with it and money can't buy good parenting. Some people will never make good parents.
Are there things such as school dentists these days? If not, surely it's not too difficult for any primary teacher to give regular instruction to wee ones on how to clean their teeth. Manufacturers of dental goods are always happy to give freebies in the hope that as children grow they will prefer their products. I few 'horror' videos would help relay the message.
Wouldn't it be far more beneficial for schools to spend more curriculum time on oral and physical hygiene rather than sex education - or as I'm told 'relationships'? Sex can wear thin with the years - rather like some people's hair- but having your own teeth is a lifelong valuable asset and our children must learn that. When I was a child there was no preventative oral health care. If a filling didn't 'work' then it was an extraction.
Continually providing children with sugar-filled fizzy drinks doesn't only happen in less well off families. So why are children from that society class so effected? The only reason I can see is bad parenting.
It's little or nothing to do with money. If it was children from wealthy backgrounds wouldn't have any tooth decay whatsoever.