BBC’s Panorama reveals kids’ tooth decay epidemic
 

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BBC’s Panorama reveals kids’ tooth decay epidemic

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BBC’s Panorama reveals kids’ tooth decay epidemic

 

BBC’s Panorama reveals kids’ tooth decay epidemic

The extraction of eight teeth from the mouth of a five-year-old girl featured on BBC1's Panorama as the programme reveals how preventable diseases are reaching epidemic proportions among the UK's children.

Alder Hey in Liverpool is the busiest children's hospital in Europe, treating more than 200,000 patients a year.

More than £1 million and hundreds of hours of treatment time are being spent tackling conditions such as tooth decay, alcohol abuse, obesity and the problems caused by passive smoking.

And more than half of the 1,000 dental operations carried out each year there are on children under the age of six.

Dental surgeon Sharon Lee said she sees a constant stream of toddlers: ‘It obviously upsets me immensely but we do have a job to do to look after the child.'

In Spoilt Rotten? The realities of preventable childhood illness five-year-old Kaitlyn has eight molars removed due to tooth decay.

Dental surgeon Dr Rod Llewelyn says having the teeth out so early will have an impact on how her permanent teeth grow in and is likely to result in more extractions to relieve crowding.

Her mother, Sharon, said the culprits were her daughter's love of sweets and tomato sauce.

But after the traumatic experience of seeing her daughter undergo the extractions, Sharon vowed to ban the ketchup entirely and cut back on the sweets served to her three children.

She said that in the months since her daughter had the operation last summer, she has required fillings in two baby teeth, but the family is making good progress in cutting down on the sweets and the tomato sauce.

Doctors at the hospital say basic health messages are still not being understood by parents.

Alder Hey's Steve Ryan admitted to his frustration at the situation: ‘I think what a terrible shame this is that we have to be doing these things that we shouldn't be doing.

'All the time we're under pressure to use taxpayers' money we receive in this hospital as effectively as possible, so it is awfully disappointing that that money's wasted. We could be using that money to do amazing things.'

He said the very real prospect of a generation of British children dying before their parents is a sleeping giant.

'I think that we've never been here before. We've never faced this epidemic. It didn't happen in history. There were cholera epidemics, measles epidemics, whooping cough epidemics… (this) is subtle. It is in the background. But it's massive.'

Panorama is available in the UK on the BBC iPlayer. Click here to see it.

 Posted on : Tue 13th - Apr - 2010

 

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