Local kindergarten pupils were reported to have an average of one and a half teeth with a history of decay, Ming Pao Daily reported on Monday, citing data from the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Hong Kong.
Dental data collected by the faculty from 23,000 students last year showed that nearly 40 percent of them had a tooth decay.
The situation was most serious in Sham Shui Po, Wong Tai Sin and Northern District, while Kowloon City reported the lowest rate of incidence.
Many parents have the misconception that tooth decay requires no treatment for young children.
But the truth is that tooth decay can lead to deformed permanent teeth, according to dental specialists.
In serious cases, tooth decay could lead to death because of bacterial infection of the blood.
According to data collected last year, 37 percent of local kindergarten pupils were found to have tooth decay, compared with 28 percent in the United States, 28 percent in Britain and 18 percent in Japan.
HKU Associate Professor Chu Chun-hung said over 90 percent of local kindergarten pupils have never undergone oral examination, which is a reflection of parents’ negligence of the health of their children’s teeth.
Chu advised parents to cut down their children’s intake of sugar and snacks, while encouraging them to clean their teeth at least twice a day.
Children should also pay a visit to the dentist at least once a year.
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