A recent study has revealed that 75% of the children in Ireland develop tooth decay by the age of 15. 50% of the 5-year-olds suffer from decaying baby teeth due to the consumption of large quantities of sugary foods.
Dr Helen Whelton, director oral health services research centre in University College Cork, said, "Irish people eat more sugary sweets than almost all other European countries and fail to brush their teeth as often. "
In spite of the drop in the levels of tooth decay in Ireland since 1980s, it is lagging when compared to England in prevention of tooth decay. This was revealed in the 3-day Public Dental Surgeons seminar, in Adare, Co Limerick.
Dr Patrick Quinn, incoming president of the Public Dental Surgeons Group of the Irish Dental Association, said, "Dentists share many of the concerns of general health professionals.
"A high level of sugar consumption is a concern not only to dentists but to those dealing with other important health issues such as diabetes and obesity.
"Our experience is that there is a significant increase in decay in young children and unless there is a reduction in the instances of consumption of sugary foods, that cavities among young children will continue and grow. "
According to the IDA, fluoridation of water supply is responsible for the preservation of Irish dental health, without which, Ireland would present the worst oral health in Europe.
The dentists have warned that, chances of tooth decay can be reduced only if people cut down having sugary foods and drinks.
Another speaker at the conference, Dr Paula Moynihan of Newcastle University, said, "Research findings have linked sugar intake in children's diets to tooth cavities and obesity levels.
She warned, "The increase in the instances of cavities among young children are unlikely to be reversed until there is a decrease in sugar in children's diets.
Dr Whelton said, "It is more damaging to children's teeth if they eat sugary foods over long periods of time rather than consume those foods in one sitting. "