10% of toddlers have tooth decay.
Byline: Helen Rae Health Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
ONE in ten North East threeyear-olds suffer from tooth decay, a new report has revealed.
Just over 10% of toddlers in the region suffer from visible tooth decay, according to a survey published by Public Health England (PHE).
Youngsters were examined in their nursery, children's centre or playgroup for the first national study of the oral health of this age group.
The regional figure of 10.1% was lower than the average for England at 11.7% and equal third lowest of nine regions in the country.
Dr Roberta Marshall, director of PHE's North East Centre, said: "This reflects trends of significant improvements in dental health since the introduction of fluoride toothpaste in 1976.
"While there have been signifi-cant improvements to the nation's oral health, some areas still experience problems with tooth decay among young children.
"Tooth decay is an entirely preventable disease that can be painful - and even result in teeth being removed under general anaesthetic, which is stressful for children and parents alike.
"Thankfully, tooth decay in children can be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle and guidance from parents and carers."
There was a dramatic variation of tooth decay prevalence from 2% to 34% across the country. In the North East this ranged from 4% in North Tyneside to 18.4% in Sunderland.
The large majority of three-yearolds - 88% nationally and almost 90% in the North East - have no decay at all.
In some cases a particular type of decay called 'early childhood caries' was found by the survey. This affects the upper front teeth, spreading rapidly to other teeth and is related to the consumption of sugary drinks in baby bottles or sipping cups.
There is a much higher risk of tooth decay if sugary drinks are given to children so they should be avoided.
Breastfeeding provides the best nutrition for babies and the best drinks for young children aged one to two are full fat milk and water and from two years old, semiskimmed milk and water as long as they are good eaters.
Dr Roberta Marshall
One in ten toddlers in the region have tooth decay