Experts blame the trend on a culture of parents rewarding children with sweets while failing to clean their teeth properly as infants. Dr Carter said: “The rise is absolutely incredible and is indicative of a massive failure in parenting.
“Partly it’s down to background and people from lower socio-economic groups have higher levels of tooth decay. “It has to be about parenting and looking after children. “ In many cases the first time the child has ever seen a dentist is when they’re taken there in great pain.
“Basically if it gets as far as needing to go to hospital for general anaesthetic then you’re talking about multiple extractions. “It’s not unusual for a child to have 12 to 14 teeth taken out and in some cases we’ve heard of all 20 baby teeth being removed.”
In 2010-11 120 under-fours were admitted to hospital for surgery in the West Midlands. This had rocketed 353 last year.
One theory for the rise in childhood tooth decay in the last three years is rising immigration of people from Eastern Europe, who are moving over with their families and receiving treatment on the NHS. Three years ago the total number of people under the age of 19 needing to go to hospital for surgery was 996. Last year it was 2,074.
In 2010-11 there were 6,000 hospital admissions for tooth decay in the West Midlands of all ages. In 2013-14 that had risen to 7,883.
The move away three square meals a day can also be blamed for the growing problem, said Dr Carter. Dr Carter said: “Children are now having seven to 10 ‘grazing’ meals, many of which are full of sugar.
“Studies have shown that if you put a spread of food in front of children they would chose to eat a balanced diets. “But we have the problem where sweets are given as a reward and so they are identified as such by the children.”
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