Letters: Disregard for children’s health
I have twice read the Despatch from the Chalk Face of Sheffield’s Secret School of lastThursday July 18, and can’t believe what I am reading. I never thought this appalling disregard for children’s health still existed, certainly not in the teaching profession.
The writer advocates the giving of chocolate bars to reward children at school. Before becoming a teacher myself, I
was a dental therapist. Part of my work was to fill children’s teeth that had been ravaged by dental caries.
I was shocked at the destruction I saw in even pre-school children. I also visited schools and adult groups to promote
dental health education. I had thought that by now, decades later, the messages had come across. Apparently not. Has this
teacher not read anything about the threat of obesity and tooth decay for our children from the high consumption of sugar?
What this teacher needs to know is
-Tooth extraction is the most common hospital procedure among six to 10-year-olds in England.
-My own dentist told me, only a few weeks ago, that the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital is now finding difficulty
handling the number of tooth extraction referrals of children needing a general Daily Telegraph of 6th March this year wrote that
The British Dental Association has found that children in parts of Yorkshire and the North West are almost five
times more likely to undergo hospital extractions than the national average.
The areas with the highest rates of extractions for 0 to 5-year-olds are Rotherham, Doncaster, Barnsley, and Sheffield.
Dental caries ( tooth decay) is caused by saliva becoming acidic from the consumption of sugar, after which bacteria
break down the tooth enamel and dentine.
It is the frequency of sugar consumption rather than the quantity that is the most important factor.
A little chocolate bar given as a regular reward between meals can mean the teeth are bathed in acidic saliva for most
of the day. Toothbrushing is not enough to fight against this.It is bad enough that schoolsallow children to bring in tins
of highly sugared sticky gummy sweets to distribute among classmate s for birthdays, and that is a lot of birthdays, but for a teacher to advocate adding to this tooth destroyal shocks me.
Reward our children, absolutely, but with stickers, star charts, certificates at assemblies, and just warm words of praise.
I was a busy teacher so know the pressures that schools are under. Cheap sweets are eaten and forgotten about, but their
damage lives on.