A-Z of Health X – X-Ray

Ok so this one was the most difficult but I was adamant that I wanted to be able to produce a health condition that was directly linked to nutrition and lifestyle for each letter of the alphabet but that one was tricky.

If you can think of any X related health conditions please do let me know!

I wanted to get tooth decay in to the A-Z but hadn’t found a way so this will have to do! An X -Ray can identify tooth decay there you go – link sorted!!

Tooth decay

In recent years we have seen a significant increase in tooth decay in milk teeth. Milk teeth.  Generally, milk teeth relate to the under 7’s.  But all children have seen a rise in decay, hospital admissions even full removal of whole sets of teeth!

NHS figures show more than 45,000 hospital operations to remove teeth from teenagers and children in 2017/18 – a rise of 18 per cent since 2012/2013, a figure that will continue rising and adding to both a health and financial burden.

“The fact that, due to the severity of the decay, 180 operations a day to remove multiple teeth in children and teenagers have to be done in a hospital is concerning and also adds to current pressures on the NHS. “This trend shows there is a vital need to introduce measures to curb our sugar addiction which is causing children’s teeth to rot”

Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association

What are children eating and drinking that’s so bad?

Sugar of course! I see many under 5’s consuming sweets – sweets are amongst the worst foods you can eat for tooth decay as chewing or sucking sweets prolongs the contact with the sugar on the enamel. Children under 5 have very weak enamel on their teeth and they are not designed for the onslaught of sugar they consume, not just with sweets but drinks, yogurts, cereals etc.

Fizzy drinks – in older children and teens its fizzy and sugary drinks that causes the biggest problem, within that population group its drinks that add the biggest intake of free-sugars.

What’s missing? As with nutrition it isn’t just what you eat it’s what you don’t eat! As I have mentioned several times throughout my A-Z of Health we are living in a largely malnourished society.

Nutrients are essential for formative nutrition throughout childhood and adolescence.  Many children are now dairy free but potentially not getting the calcium from other sources, many are also deficient in vitamin D which is needed for efficient calcium absorption.

Of course, whilst it sounds obvious brushing teeth properly twice a day and having regular dentist appointments are also important!

Whilst it’s been a bit of a tenuous link I felt I needed to mention tooth decay as children should not be having to have fillings and teeth extractions.

About the author of this blog

Louise Mercieca is a multi award-winning author on children’s nutrition with her book ‘How Food Shapes Your Child’ winning the Parenting award in Janey Lee Grace’s Platinum awards.  Louise is the host of Early Years TV Food Channel – a channel dedicated to children’s health and nutrition.

Louise has also won a SBS or Small Business Sunday award from Theo Paphitis and was recently crowned as Queen of Child Nutrition in the #Queenof Twitter awards.

Louise regularly campaigns on BBC radio

Louise has worked as a Nutritional Therapist for 8 years supporting hundreds of clients and does take on a limited number of personal coaching clients each month – contact Louise to discuss this. Louise has also created an accessible and affordable webinar schedule covering many topics discussed in this A-Z post series.

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