The damage caused by sugary treats to children's teeth is partially protected by brushing, a new study has revealed. Parents should control their child's diet to combat tooth decay, it has said.
Kids below five years of age who eat too many sweet treats — like chocolates and other sugary foods and beverages — are at double the risk of getting tooth decay, according to the study that has been carried out by researchers from the University of Edinburgh with Dr Valeria Skafida as the lead author.
The research also revealed that those who consumed sweet snacks in excess were at an increased risk of dental ailments.
"Our results indicate that consumption of soft drinks, sweets and chocolates should be reduced to protect against dental decay, however, there are also changes required in relation to dietary practices more generally," Skafida was quoted by Daily Mail as saying.
"In Scotland, parents are advised to limit sugary foods to mealtimes. However, our results suggest that snacking generally may be detrimental to children's teeth," she added.
A drop was observed in the levels of tooth decay among the children from Scotland after the introduction of Childsmile — an oral-health programme — in 2011. But it has been found that the diet of 15 percent of youngsters includes sugary foods, which has resulted in slowing down of the progress.
In the research carried out at the University of Edinburgh, a total of 3,832 children belonging to ages of two to five were examined.
The researchers checked the oral hygiene habits of these children, along with how often they had dental check-ups, how frequently they brushed, whether they brushed at night before going to bed or not and their snacking habits.
If children keep on binge-eating snacks without having meals, their chances of developing tooth decay doubles.
It was also found that though consuming sugary snacks raises the chances of tooth decay, eating fruits depletes the chances of developing it.
"Diets low in sugar, and particularly reduced sugar-snacking, must continue to be promoted to reduce dental decay in children," Skafida said.
Children aged two who didn't brush their teeth at all are at double the risk of getting dental decay by the age of five, said the study.
Also, kids of parents who don't have a proper control on the diet their children are also at risk of suffering from tooth decay.
These findings are published in the Journal of Public Health.
Dr Skafida also explained that to keep dental decay at bay the consumption of sweets, chocolates, soft drinks and other sweet treats should be lowered and the diet be taken care of.
"Our results indicate that consumption of soft drinks, sweets and chocolates should be reduced to protect against dental decay, however, there are also changes required in relation to dietary practices more generally," Skafida was quoted by a Daily Mail report as saying.
She also revealed that brushing the teeth helps in keeping tooth decay at bay only partly.
"This study has shown that toothbrushing can only in part reduce the impact of sugar consumption and snacking on dental decay outcomes in children under five," she said.
"Huge progress has been made around improving oral hygiene in the UK population, however, the same progress has not been seen in terms of sugar intake," she added.