Brush, General, Gum, Pain, Teeth

TV linked to sugar consumption and rotten teeth in children

Children who watch over 90 minutes of television a day are more likely to eat sugar and suffer from tooth decay, according to the findings of a new study.

The research discovered that young people are a third more likely to eat sugary foods (33%) and significantly more likely to have decaying teeth (39%), if they watch over an hour-and-a-half of television each day.

More than one in two (53%) children watching television for more than 90 minutes a day have some form of tooth decay.  Youngsters who eat sugary foods while watching TV are also more than twice as likely to have decaying teeth than those who choose to avoid them.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE is the Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, a charity that sees first-hand the damage that tooth decay is doing to young people.  Dr Carter believes there needs to be a change in the snacking culture around television.

Dr Carter says: “There is a clear relationship between the time children spend watching television and how much sugar they are consuming.  As a population, our children are having too much sugar too often and it is leading to unacceptable rates of tooth decay.  The results are fillings and tooth extractions – both of which are preventable.

“There is also a worry that subscription services, accessed through personal devices, are turning television into an individual activity which is less family orientated.  This type of viewing is often done in isolation and is a cause for concern when moderating a child’s snacking habits.  

“Limiting the amount of television children watch, or where they watch it, could be a sensible and easy measure to improve children’s oral health.  It would also have other health benefits to a child’s wellbeing.”

Last year, there were 59,314 tooth extractions in England.  Nine in ten of these were caused by tooth decay.

Read the full article: (October 2019)

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