Star comment: Tooth choices facing our kids

Fluoride toothpaste, education programmes, a drive to reduce levels of sugar in food and drinks...

Children have a difficult task.
Children have a difficult task.

Surely it's all having a big impact on levels of tooth decay among schoolchildren?

Well, the bad news for schools is that they are on the wrong end of a wagging finger.

It comes from Matthew Garrett, dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, who says: “FDS believes that limiting the availability of surgery foods and drinks in schools is essential to reducing the frequency with which our children consume sugar."

So that's another little responsibility being laid at the door of heads and teachers. The pandemic has not helped on the dental decay front either, because NHS figures have shown that during 2020 in England 70 per cent of children did not see an NHS dentist.

Some may find it surprising that tooth decay is still being flagged up as such a significant problem in the 21st century. If you really want a demonstration of how bad things used to be, ask your grandparents, and it's quite possible that they may pull out false teeth to show you as Exhibit A.

Dentistry and preventative measures have come along apace over the years. What has not changed is that children like sweets and sweet drinks and while they are not deliberately sabotaging their dental health, the lure of a chocolate bar is irresistible.

Expecting children to make good judgments about what they eat and drink is an uphill task when they have the freedom to make their own choices, and so the issue is whether they should be denied those choices for their own good.

Mr Garrett, whose sugar-free call to schools is supported by the British Dental Association, wants to see the Government encouraging all English schools to become sugar-free. If that did happen, it is uncertain how much effect it would actually have as cracking down on sugar in school can only do so much when the youngsters can get it at home, or buy sweets and treats at a shop on their way to school.

There again, if schoolchildren can be persuaded to eat and drink sugar-free substitutes rather than their toothrotting favourites, it would be a win all round – except for some sections of the confectionery and drinks industry.

If you have done your spring cleaning you may think that it was a bit of a chore.

But at least you didn't have to do it while dangling from a rope attached to the ceiling.

For the RAF Museum at Cosford giving some of its historic aircraft on display a good dusting is no easy matter, as a number of them are suspended on cables from the roof of the 30 metre high National Cold War Exhibition, that huge silver futuristic building which has won design awards.

This, then, is not a job for Mrs Mop or Mr Mop. It is something for which the museum has this week called in three experts from an Eccleshall firm who are specialists at working at height.

They have all the right safety and access stuff, but when it comes to the cleaning itself, the equipment is prosaic – soft fibre mops.

The museum is reopening to the public on May 17, and it will be great to see this world-leading attraction on our doorstep taking off again.

And thanks to that aerial trio, the exhibits will be looking their sparkling best.

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