Food and Behaviour Research

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14 July 2014 - BBC news - Dental charity blames bad baby teeth on 'child neglect'

Child neglect is to blame for "absolutely appalling" levels of children needing their teeth pulled in hospital, a charity says. NHS figures show it is the most common reason for children in England being admitted to hospital.

Three years ago 22,574 children aged five to nine were admitted for rotting teeth, but provisional figures for the year beginning April 2013 show they have climbed to 25,812.

"It is a case of child neglect," Dr Nigel Carter, the chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, told the BBC.

"They're not giving the correct diet, they're getting sugary drinks. There's no attention to their oral hygiene regime and they're failing to take their children along to the dentist when their first teeth come through, and waiting until a child is in pain with a mouthful of rotten teeth."

Fizzy sugar drinks, smoothies and fruit juices, already criticised as a cause of child obesity, are also being blamed.

Kathryn Harley, a paediatric dentist, said: "We see an awful lot in the media linking sugar to obesity and other health problems and not enough about the link between sugar in the diet and oral health."

Last month a group of scientists called for children to be given only water to drink to combat obesity and protect teeth.

Prof Susan Jebb, of the University of Oxford, said: "It comes back to simple advice to parents - encourage your children to drink water."