Children as young as 18 months old are having multiple rotten teeth pulled out as parents feed toddlers soft drinks through sipper bottles and chocolate biscuits and Milo as bedtime treats.
Dentist and veteran anti-sugar lobbyist Rob Beaglehole said he pulled several teeth on Monday from an 18-month-old and had once treated a 2-year-old who had been drinking Coke from a baby bottle. The child’s teeth had dissolved down to the gum line and were bleeding.
Beaglehole – a father of two and principal dental officer for Nelson Marlborough District Health Board – recently extracted 11 teeth from a 3-year-old whose parents had let him drink Coke from a sipper bottle to ‘keep him happy’.DEREK FLYNNAnother 3-year-old needed four stainless steel crowns – had four teeth pulled and was given four fillings – the child’s parents put Milo in a baby bottle to sip on overnight.
All these procedures, performed under general anaesthetic, cost the Nelson Marlborough DHB about $4000 each and none of them needed to happen Beaglehole said.
Each year 35,000 children aged under 12 have rotten teeth extracted because of excessively sugary diets – mainly from sugary drinks and other junk foods.