• Only around 21% of children under two in England are having their teeth checked by an NHS dentist. • Nationally a quarter of five-year olds already have tooth decay with an average of three or four teeth affected.
• Around 12% of children may have decay in their teeth by the age of three.
• Every 10 minutes a child in England has a rotten tooth removed in hospital.
• Across the Midlands, by the age of five years, around a quarter of all children will have tooth decay, and in the worst areas it is around a third of all five-year-olds.
• In Leicester, for example, two out of every five (40%) five-year-old children in the city have already experienced tooth decay.
• Almost 9 out of 10 hospital tooth extractions among children aged under five years are due to preventable tooth decay.
By the age of five many children could already have tooth decay, many of whom may only have been to the dentist when they are in pain or the decay is already so severe they need to have teeth removed.
An early dental visit is more than looking in a baby’s mouth:
• families get information, advice and support for caring for teeth when they come through
• the dentist can look out for problems at a young age
• dentists and their teams can help families get the best from tooth brushing, advice on sugar, healthy eating and drinking, teething and also offer preventative treatments.
A little trip to the dentist also helps them to get used to the sights, sounds and smells of a dental practice which is vital in ensuring children feel comfortable in that environment as they grow older.