Teenagers’ teeth have more cavities, young children have fewer

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While young children and adults are doing a good job of looking after their teeth, teenagers’ dental health has deteriorated over the past six years, according to research by the Dutch healthcare institute ZN.

Five-year-olds and young adults had fewer cavities in 2017 than seven years ago, but nearly one in four 11-year-olds now have tooth decay, up from just over a quarter in 2011. And 66% of 17-year-olds have cavities, a rise of five percentage points on six years ago.

Children with low skilled parents and young adults without higher education have worse teeth than their peers with college and university degrees, ZN said.

Dental experts recommend that people clean their teeth twice a day and do not eat or drink anything more than seven times a day. They also recommend people do not rinse out their mouth after brushing, to give the fluoride more time to take effect.

The healthcare institute says it will now talk to dentists’ organisations and other interested groups to work out how to tackle declining dental health in teenagers.

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