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Funny facts about teeth you never knew

They sometimes ache, you’re regularly told to clean them, and they help you through every meal – your teeth are with you through thick and thin. That’s why it’s so important to look after them. But your teeth are amazing, interesting things, and very few people know the truth about their teeth – try saying that three times fast!

But first, what actually makes up your tooth?

The anatomy of the tooth

Each tooth is made up of several parts, starting with the crown. This is the part of your tooth visible above your gum. Those crowns are covered with enamel, which is an extremely hard substance – the hardest in the whole body in fact. The enamel is there to protect the sensitive and delicate inner parts of the tooth.

There’s another hard substance under the enamel, which is called dentin. Both dentin and enamel are there to protect the pulp. The pulp is at the very core of your tooth and is packed full of blood vessels to keep the teeth and nerve endings healthy. Those nerve endings are what hurts when you bite into cold ice cream.

What teeth do you have?

What are those hard things in your mouth? They’re teeth, of course! But “teeth” is a very general name, you actually have different types of teeth in your mouth that are designed to help you eat in different ways.

The first four top and bottom teeth you have are called incisors, which are designed to allow you to bite into your food and cut it into smaller, bite-size chunks. Next, you have two more pointy teeth on the top and bottom, which are called canines – though they hopefully don’t look too much like dog teeth, if they do, visit your dentist! They’re there to help you tear into dense, chewy things like meat.

Then you have four premolars (otherwise known as bicuspids) on the top and bottom behind the canines. You’ll see they’re bigger, stronger, tougher looking teeth – they’re in there to help you grind up the food you’re eating into an easy to swallow mush. Tasty! That grinding is continued by your molars, which are the four teeth on the top and bottom right at the very back of your mouth.

The very last teeth to come through are wisdom teeth. One forms in the back of your mouth on each of the four sides – though some, very lucky, people don’t ever get wisdom teeth. Most people agree that wisdom teeth aren’t really necessary, and come from a time when we didn’t enjoy such a smooth and easy-to-eat diet. Some people need to have their wisdom teeth removed, as they can cause pain.

Fun facts about your teeth

Now you know what makes up your teeth, and what the different teeth in your mouth are called, here are some of the weirder facts you probably didn’t know!

They start growing before you’re born

That’s right! The first organs that appear tooth-like start appearing when the fetus is as little as six weeks old. Though they’re still super soft at this point, so they wouldn’t do you much good when it comes to tucking into your favourite meal.

Your teeth are see-through

They may look pearly and white, or darker and slightly yellowy, or even brown and black if you don’t brush them, but in reality, your teeth are actually transparent. The colour we see is actually down to a portion of the enamel absorbing and reflecting light.

Every bite is totally unique

You probably already know that every person’s fingerprint is unique, and if you didn’t, you do now! But everyone has something else unique about them too; their bite. That means that you can be identified purely by the impression of your bite.

Tooth decay is scarily common

The common cold is arguably the most common medical disorder in the world, and if you’ve ever had the sniffles you’ll know why. But second behind that is tooth decay! That means it really does make sense to brush and floss twice a day.

Right or left hand…chewing?

Right-handed people tend to mainly chew their food to the right of their mouths, while left-handed people tend to favour the left side of their mouths. Nobody knows why – but if someone can tell if you’re right or left-handed when you’re eating, chew with your mouth closed!

How much time brushing?

On average, a person will spend a combined 38.5 days brushing their teeth throughout the course of their lives – fortunately, that’s spread out over two three-minute intervals twice a day. If it isn’t, it should be, because that’s too long to brush in on sitting!

Your teeth truly are your best friends – when your permanent teeth come through, they’re the only ones you get, so make sure you look after them as best you can.
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Everything you need to know about milk teeth

We’ve all had them, but few of us will remember much about them. Milk teeth, which are more formally called ‘deciduous teeth’ because of the way they are shed, develop when we are just mere embryos. They erupt in infancy – hence the moniker ‘baby teeth’ – and fall out during childhood, making the way for our permanent adult teeth.

Why do we need milk teeth?

Milk teeth are necessary both for a child’s physical and mental development. While a baby’s mouth is not yet big enough to grow permanent adult teeth which will be needed in later life, smaller baby teeth grow in order to provide structure to the muscles of the jaw, ensure that the jaw grows to the correct size, and to provide a guide for the eruption path of later teeth.

During the early years, baby teeth also aid chewing and eating as babies transition from drinking milk to eating solid foods. Primary teeth also play a key role in children’s speech development.

When do milk teeth start to grow

Milk teeth begin emerging at a few months old and erupt in stages for the next couple of years. First, the central incisors emerge at 5-8 months, then the lateral incisors at 7-10 months. Next, the first molars show up between 11 and 18 months old, the canines between 16 and 20 months, and finally, the second molars complete the set by the age of 3, totalling 20 milk teeth altogether.

Most parents will have an inkling that their babies may be teething because their gums may appear sore and swollen and the teething process can cause a lot of discomfort, teething babies might cry a lot and put everything into their mouths in an attempt to soothe the pain. Other signs of teething also include flushed cheeks and excessive dribbling. Giving your baby something cold and hard to chew on can help with teething pain, such as a chilled teething ring or even just carrot sticks from the fridge.

How should we look after milk teeth?

Just like adult teeth, baby teeth need to be looked after. Sugary foods and acidic fizzy drinks will damage milk teeth, and even the sugars in milk can cause tooth decay if babies are allowed to sleep with their bottles of milk. Just like adults, babies and children should have their teeth brushed twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste – there are many on the market aimed at babies and children, including tasty strawberry ones – will help to keep teeth clean and healthy. Children under the age of six should always have their teeth brushed by an adult.

When it comes to nutrition, babies should get all the calcium and other nutrients they need from their breast or formula milk, while older children will need to make sure they drink plenty of cow’s milk and eat other calcium-rich foods such as cheese and leafy greens to support their developing teeth and bones.

As for taking kids to the dentist, unless you think there’s a problem, it’s not a requirement to take children to the dentist when they’re very young. However, it is recommended to begin taking children to the dentist as soon as their first milk teeth erupt, and routinely thereafter, both to catch any problems as they’re developing and to get kids used to visiting the dentist.

When do you lose your milk teeth

Of course, as young children get older they slowly lose their milk teeth – though this doesn’t mean that milk teeth don’t need looking after, too. In fact, if milk teeth are affected by tooth decay, this can also cause adult teeth growing underneath to be affected by tooth decay as well.

Milk teeth will gradually fall out during the course of primary school. The first baby teeth to go will be the central incisors at age 6-7, with the lateral incisors coming out a year later. Next the first molars and canines, which can fall out from around 9 to 11, and finally the second molars, by around 12. In their place, 32 full-size permanent teeth will grow, and these are built to last the rest of our lives. Adult teeth can take a long time to come in, especially if we include the wisdom teeth, which can often still be erupting well into our 30s.

Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule. Fans of hit TV show Stranger Things might have noticed that Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin on the show, hasn’t yet lost all of his baby teeth by age 15. That’s because Gaten has a rare condition called Cleidocranial dysostosis (CCD), which affects the development of teeth and bones, often causing both baby teeth and adult teeth to come in much later than usual. Gaten has done a lot to promote awareness of CCD, and some of the effects of the condition, including lisping speech and jaw misalignment, this reveals just how important milk teeth really are to our developing bodies.

Read – Why you should store your child’s milk teeth in a stem cell bank

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Shocking things mums know about their children – that their children think are a secret

Sneaking out past curfew or spending your lunch money on chocolate – most of us will pull the wool over our parents’ eyes once or twice growing up. But, as the UK’s family stem cell bank StemProtect.co.uk has seen, some mums are wise to their offsprings’ secrets – even those which are shocking and surprising.

  1. Some are on the tamer end of the scale – with one mum noticing that her son wasn’t eating his lovingly-made packed lunches at school. Finding that he’d forget what fillings he’d been given that day, she put two and two together when his pocket money went missing – presumably spent on more exciting (or sugary) snacks.
  • However, more worryingly, one mother said she was well aware of her teenage daughter’s drinking, adding that while her wily teen thought she was being subtle upon her return home, the swaying and slurred speech had given her away. The exasperated mother added: “I don’t want to confront her because at least I know she’s coming home – if she tried to start hiding it more by staying over at a friend’s, I’d be more concerned.”
  • One sweet tale was shared by a mother who said she knew her son was gay – but was giving him the space he needed to come out. “I couldn’t be happier,” she added, but said that she wanted to ensure there was no pressure on him to talk to her about it if he didn’t want to.
  • A sneaky fourteen-year-old who think she’s pulled the wool over her mother’s eyes would have a shock if she knew that her secret boyfriend was not so secret. “I’ve spotted them out and about together – but she would be so embarrassed if I knew,” the mother of the lovestruck teen laughed.
  • Think your parents don’t know about your hidden ink? Think again! One disapproving mother has caught a glimpse of the tattoo her son has valiantly attempted to hide from her, but says she ‘wouldn’t want to cause an argument’ by bringing it up.
  • A thought that would strike fear into the hearts of many a young person – their parents having access to their internet habits. But for one unlucky teen, her mother knows exactly what she’s up to, after glimpsing her username on a popular forum. “I try not to check it because I believe in trusting her,” her mum confessed, “but sometimes the curiosity gets the best of me!”
  • One wily teenage girl may think she’s managed to hide her expensive habit of taking taxis to school when it’s raining from her mum – but mum knows best, thanks to the taxi firm’s app being linked to her bank card.
  • Even the most attentive parent might admit to relying on YouTube for a little peace and quiet occasionally – but one amused mum says she knows all about her toddler’s secret browsing. “She thinks I don’t know she’s sneaking my phone off the bedside table when she comes for a cuddle in the morning – but of course, she’s too little to realise I can hear her singing along to nursery rhyme videos!”
  • Many parents would be disappointed to find out their offspring had taken up smoking – and a crestfallen mum found out the hard way, by finding a lighter in her son’s laundry basket. “He thinks he’s managed to cover the smell with cheap aftershave, but it’s obvious,” she added.
  1. One worried mum has kept quiet about finding her daughter’s fake ID used for getting into nightclubs – despite only being fifteen years old. “It concerns me, of course – but the forgery is so bad I think it’s only a matter of time before she’s caught and learns a hard lesson.”

Anna Edwards, spokesperson the for reliable & affordable stem cell storage company StemProtect.co.uk, said:

“Children often think they’re pulling the wool over their parents’ eyes when, in reality, their parents are painfully aware of what their little ones are up to. It can be quite shocking for parents to learn that their once sweet youngster is now almost an adult – and it’s natural to worry about their safety and health.

“But most of us will also remember being a child or teen ourselves, and the things that we in turn hoped our parents didn’t know; a little discretion can go a long way and avoid your child becoming defensive or secretive. Encouraging honesty and openness in your family will make a huge difference when your child needs a listening ear or some parental advice – but unless your child is in danger, turning a blind eye can often give them room to learn as they navigate the world.”

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‘Less than a third’ of children are brushing their teeth twice a day

Just 30% of children are brushing their teeth the recommended twice a day – leaving them at risk for serious dental problems later in life.

A study undertaken by StemProtect.co.uk, which offers the most comprehensive stem cell banking service in the UK, has shown that an alarming number of youngsters were failing to stick to the current guidelines for their dental health.

The study, which was conducted with 600 families, showed:

60% of 2- to 4-year olds brush once a day
70% of 4- to 8-year olds brush once a day
80% of parents did not know how long their children brushed their teeth for
3% of parents used a timer to check how long their children were brushing

Responses to the survey, which was conducted with 600 families, showed that of 2 – 4 year olds, 60% brush once a day, despite the NHS guidelines that teeth should be brushed twice a day, including once before sleeping. Interestingly, the report showed that in 4 – 8 year olds that number rose to 70% – perhaps suggesting that as children grow older, parents tend to let them take responsibility for their own dental hygiene, with worrying results.

Anna Edwards, spokesperson for StemProtect.co.uk, pointed out that as well as potentially costly fillings and abscesses, parents could be causing long-term damage for their children’s teeth.

“Younger children tend to be more resistant to tooth brushing, but caring for your teeth is a lifelong job. Not brushing regularly can lead to gum disease, which has been proven to have a number of serious health risks associated, including cardiovascular disease. Parents may think their children will look after their own oral hygiene once they’re old enough to brush, but it’s not worth leaving to chance.”

NHS guidelines show that, as well as an increased risk of heart attacks, gum disease has been linked to complication with strokes, diabetes and even rheumatoid arthritis – but it is easily avoided with proper dental hygiene. Dentists recommend brushing for a full two minutes, twice a day to prevent gum disease – but StemProtect’s study showed that 80% of parents failed to monitor the length of time their children were brushing for and that just 3% used a timer.

Official guidelines suggest that parents should monitor or assist with their children’s brushing until they are ten years old to instill good brushing habits and check that technique is correct.

Edwards continued:

“Parents can help their children get into good habits with brushing quite easily; using a 2-minute timer in the bathroom and reward charts for younger children are both very effective at creating a familiar routine that they will be less likely to forget as they gain independence.

“While it doesn’t seem like a life or death situation while they are younger and have their milk teeth, encouraging good dental hygiene and keeping their gums healthy will have long-lasting effects well into their adult life and can help to avoid the very real consequences of gum disease.”

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Tooth fairy payouts vary from 50p to £20 – but which area has the best going rate?

Wobbly teeth are an exciting rite of passage for children anticipating a visit from the Tooth Fairy – but the going rate varies wildly around the UK, StemProtect.co.uk have found.

In a study undertaken by StemProtect.co.uk, the UKs stem cell and tooth storage bank, families were asked about the going rate for the Tooth Fairy – a tradition where parents leave money, usually coins, for their children in exchange for a lost baby tooth.

The Tooth Fairy is thought to be traceable back to early Norse and Northern European traditions, where children were paid a ‘tooth fee’ for losing their first pearly white. Despite its ancient roots, the tradition continues today, with the vast majority of parents reporting that their own version of this nocturnal visitor leaves just a few coins under the child’s pillow – a token to celebrate a childhood rite of passage.

However, StemProtect.co.uk’s research showed a variety in the amount that children received for this exciting ritual across the country.

The study, which looked at 2,000 families across the UK, showed the following ‘going rates’ for the Tooth Fairy:

Bradford – 50 pence
Edinburgh – 75 pence
Nottingham – £1.00
Manchester – £1.20
Bristol – £1.25
London – £1.50
Leeds – £1.50
Harrogate – £2.50

Children in Bradford were found to have the lowest haul from the Tooth Fairy on average at just 50 pence.

Manchester’s youngsters receive £1.20 on average, beating Edinburgh’s more modest 75 pence – and Nottingham sits squarely in the middle at £1 exactly. While London, where you might expect that the Tooth Fairy’s payouts might be higher to match the cost of living, children receive £1.50 on average – a significant percentage lower than the earnings of the lucky children living in Harrogate.

Children in the leafy North Yorkshire town were found to receive an average of £2.50 per tooth, making it the most lucrative area for losing a tooth – however, there were some isolated instances where it seemed that Tooth Fairy had really splashed the cash.

Harvey, 41, from Leeds, admitted that he eschewed the tradition of leaving coins for his child when they lost their first tooth, instead slipping a £20 note under the pillow instead. He told researchers:

“To be honest, it was a bit excessive, I’ve set a high bar for myself. I really wish I’d given less – or should that be the Tooth Fairy had given less! – but it was the first tooth and it’s a tradition.”

Anna Edwards, spokesperson for StemProtect.co.uk, noted:

“It’s clear there’s no set rate for the Tooth Fairy across the UK but many parents may be relieved to see that 50 pence is still acceptable. However, it’s also lovely to see that the tradition continues for a new generation, and it can often be a good way to talk to your children about their dental hygiene – for example, telling them that the Tooth Fairy will only leave a gift for clean teeth is usually a great motivator when it comes to the bedtime tooth brushing routine!”

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Ilkley Town AFC under-5 and under-6 teams win corporate sponsorship

Ilkey Town AFC’s under-5 and under-6 teams will get a boost with their new corporate sponsorships, announced today.

The community-run football team is now sponsored by BusinessWaste.co.uk, a leading waste management firm who operate nationwide, and StemProtect.co.uk, a stem cell storage facility with 75,000 families entrusting their precious stem cells to its protection.

Budding sports stars train on at Ben Rhydding on Sundays at 8:45am – come rain or shine, its dedicated local coaches put young athletes through their paces in a fun and motivating environment which aims to enrich the surrounding community.

The newly-announced sponsors agree that supporting the initiative was an easy decision.

Mark Hall, spokesperson for StemProtect.co.uk, said:

“Grassroots sports teams are so vital to local communities around the UK and we were delighted to have a chance to help support that. Promoting health and happiness for young people is an excellent cause, and it’s clear that Ilkley Town AFC and its coaches put a huge amount of time and passion into what they do.

“Coach Andy and his team deserve so much praise for the work they do, not only in creating opportunities for local children to thrive, but also for helping to build confidence and teach new skills, which are key for young people. We’re very pleased to be a sponsor for your team!”

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10 reasons why you should store your family’s stem cells

Stem cell collection and storage may not seem like a family essential in the same way as home or travel insurance, but in fact is it a form of insurance policy which could protect your entire family for decades to come.

As stem cell research continues to flourish, the collection and cryopreservation of yours and your family’s stem cells for future use could have a huge number of benefits – and here are ten to get you thinking.

A life saver – literally

First and foremost – stem cells are special types of cell which hold the key to many life-saving and advanced medical treatments, including for blood and immune diseases such as leukaemia, treating severe burns, sight-saving eye regeneration treatments and many others – with medical science continually advancing to include new therapies.

Peace of mind

Like ‘traditional’ insurance policies – stem cell storage offers you peace of mind, knowing you have taken steps to allow your family members all possible medical options in future.

Giving your family a choice

One form of stem cell collection is by taking cells from the umbilical cord at birth. A safe and painless procedure, it ensures that – should your child develop a disease where stem cell therapies are an option in future – you have given medical professionals an extra choice when it comes to treatment.

Your own health

Stem cell storage isn’t just a choice which protects the younger members of your family. By banking your own stem cells – using stem cells from healthy adult teeth – you also have the chance to preserve something which could help to keep all members of your family healthy…

Sharing is caring

…as well as your close family members. Should a family member ever require a stem cell transplant, doctors will first look to close genetic matches (i.e. you!) for donations, meaning that your choice to store your stem cells could be the gift of life for someone else.

Avoid the donor list

While amazing and life-saving work is done by stem cell donors, having healthy stem cells safely and securely stored can avoid the need to search for a donor should one be needed – and save precious time.

Join a growing revolution

More and more families are choosing to protect themselves by banking stem cells – with over 75,000 families using StemProtect.co.uk already.

It’s affordable

Despite being at the cutting edge of science, stem cell storage is affordable, with interest-free prices available – meaning that finances need not hold you back.

Future proof your family

Medical science is moving at an ever-increasing rate. While stem cell therapies are already available for a wide range of conditions, research continues to advance to include new treatments all the time – meaning that the choice to bank your stem cells now could open many more doors in future.

No risk – find out more

Best of all, you can get a free consultation from StemProtect.co.uk – so there’s no risk before you find out exactly how stem cell storage could be the best choice you make for your family.

VIEW OUR STEM CELL BANKING PACKAGES

Learn more about –

Can stem cells prevent Acute leukaemia?

Can stem cells prevent Anaemia?

Can stem cells prevent Myelodysplastic syndromes

Can stem cells prevent Chronic leukaemia?

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Stem cell research offers hope for those with ‘untreatable’ STDs

Stem cell research has advanced significant research which could offer hope to people suffering from previously incurable sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes.

The UK’s Stem Cell bank StemProtect.co.uk, has analysed the latest in clinical trials of stem cell treatments and seen real positive steps towards helping those with difficult to treat STDs.

Some sexually transmitted diseases, like herpes, have no cure. While treatment is available to sufferers to alleviate the symptoms of the disease, it is often a cause of distress and shame to those who live with a long-term, incurable disease. Herpes is the third most common STD and 10% of the population are thought to carry HSV type 2, the form of the virus which can cause sores on the genitals[1] – although there are more dangerous long-term risks associated with the virus, such as encephalitis and pregnancy complications.

However, StemProtect.co.uk has noted that in recent years, scientists have turned to more radical techniques to help tackle such diseases, with early attempts to use stem cell technology to treat STDs. Studies into the efficacy of gene editing, which works alongside stem cell research, has been shown promising results in tackling a variety of sexually transmitted diseases, from chlamydia to HIV.

While stem cell researchers have been looking closely at therapies to treat HIV since the 1980s, research has recently begun to make leaps and bounds in this area. In recent years, two men being treated for cancer at a hospital in Boston were found to have no traces of HIV in their bodies following stem cell therapy[2] – opening the door to further research and ultimately, clinical trials.

While a quick fix for these life-changing diseases isn’t yet available, it remains hugely encouraging that STDs are amongst the illnesses which respond to stem cell therapy, giving a beacon of hope for those who are looking for cures. However, stem cell therapy relies heavily on the ability to safely store and retrieve stem cells – which is where StemProtect.co.uk’s expertise is invaluable.

Mark Hall, spokesperson for StemProtect.co.uk, commented:

“It really is incredible to see the breadth of research focusing on using stem cells for life-changing treatments, and it is heartening to see that there is hope for those with previously incurable sexually transmitted diseases.

“Of course, we also advocate for better sex education, both at schools and in the wider public, to help curb the spread of STDs. There are a generation of people who remember the fear surrounding the AIDS epidemic in the Eighties and had these messages drilled into them, but there are plenty of younger people who don’t have the same cultural reference point. We need to ensure that – while stem cell research is promising and an exciting leap for medicine – young people are given the education to make informed decisions about safer sex.”

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Stem cell clone storage

If you bank stem cells now they could  be of use in cutting-edge cloning technologies which could dramatically improve lives.

However this is not in existence and is maybe 50 years away!

Recent breakthroughs in genetic science saw scientists develop a process known as ‘therapeutic cloning’ – using a person’s own cells to create stem cells, which could be used for a number of applications including growing tissues and organs to repair damage to the body.

The opportunity will one day arise to store these stem cells to ensure these breakthroughs are available should the person fall ill or require stem cell treatment in future. Therapeutic cloning reduces the risk of rejection when using stem cells in a patient, as the associated problems with using cells with different DNA are eliminated – meaning that, while stem cell cloning is a new and growing field, the future possibilities could be endless.

Medical applications, such as organ cloning, could offer relief to people with organ failure or other life-limiting conditions. Future advances in stem cell cloning, which has shown promise in a wide variety of applications, could even see the possibility of lab-growing limbs.

While the potential medical use of lab-grown limbs is evident, there are also cosmetic uses which could become incredibly popular as the ‘Instagram generation’ continues to strive for physical perfection. When surveyed by StemProtect.,co.uk, a number of young people came up with an unsurprising list of physical attributes they would love to have cloned for them.

Sophie, 27, from Blackburn, said, “Who wouldn’t clone themselves some Kardashian-style body parts? If I could use science to look perfect, I wouldn’t need bum implants – I could make my own designer body!”, while several men interviewed admitted they would use cloning technologies to give themselves the feet of a footballing star.

Limb cloning could have a more dramatic impact than just the perfect selfie, however. John, 46, commented: “My eldest son’s a keen rugby player but unfortunately, due to injury, he had to drop out of trials and his career ended before it had even started. If I could clone him a new leg, I would.”

Mark Hall, spokesperson for StemProtect.co.uk, commented:

“The science behind stem cell cloning continues to come on in leaps and bounds – and for many people, the possibility of having a securely stored back-up of their own stem cells would be a welcome idea.

“Of course, there are dozens of reasons why someone might want to look into cloning technologies in the future. It is certainly possible that, as science progresses, we see a greater number of people utilising new methods of attaining physical perfection – like an addition to their beauty routine, but at the cutting edge of technological advances!

“Ultimately, stem cell banking is about peace of mind – whether cloning technology could help a sick child, create an organ transplant instead of waiting on a list, or to achieve your physical goals, it will only be possible with safe, reliable and affordable stem cell storage, and that is what StemProtect.co.uk are providing.”

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Mind your manners! Over half of pre-school children cant use a knife and fork

Mind your manners! Over half of pre-school children cant use a knife and fork

Over half (54%) of the UK’s 2-5 year olds don’t regularly use knives and forks when eating at home – with 46% of parents not even providing utensils as an option.

The surprising statistic comes from a survey undertaken by StemProtect.co.uk, the UKs stem cell bank. The survey covered parents of 3,000 children between two and four years old across the UK and highlighted regional disparities – with York and Bristol coming out top for cutlery use, while Bradford came bottom in the UK.

While many parents will be able to sympathise with the struggle of getting their toddlers to eat their food rather than decorate with it, the survey revealed differing attitudes towards encouraging little ones to use cutlery.

The survey conducted by StemProtect.co.uk who spoke to 3000 parents through out the UK

When asked does your child (aged 2-5) use a knife and fork to eat

Yes – 46%
No – 54%

Top areas that children used knife and fork reside in
York – 62%
Bristol – 54%
Plymouth – 48%

Bottom areas for children who didn’t use a knife and fork
Bradford – 23%
Birmingham – 27%
Leicester – 30%

Some parents, such as Malcolm, 37 from London, were determined to instill good table manners into their children – despite the usual messy drawbacks of mealtimes with youngsters. Malcolm said:

“I’m normally at work when the kids eat, but we do all have breakfast together, which includes the occasional boiled egg. At the weekends we all eat together though – and although it’s normally its cold by the time they have finished and half of it’s on the floor, they do have to use a knife and fork to eat their meals!”

Others found that looking up to older siblings encouraged reluctant cutlery users, with Anna, 34, saying “It helps that our four year old uses a fork as the two year old loves to copy – although I’m not giving her a knife just yet!”.

However, some parents were less rigorous when it comes to mealtime etiquette – and fussy eaters were revealed as a problem. Mercedes, 23, from Bradford, admitted that her child only opted for food which didn’t require cutlery, such as toast or crisps, adding: “I’ve tried giving him chicken nuggets, but he’s just not interested.”

However, StemProtect.co.uk warned that not teaching your children to use cutlery correctly would be a hindrance once they reached school age.

Anna Edwards, spokesperson for StemProtect.co.uk, added:
“It’s important that children learn life skills early on. Schools expect that a child without any additional difficulties would be able to use a knife and fork by the time they start Reception and parents cannot expect teachers to be cutting up their children’s food for them.”

The NHS offers plenty of free advice for parents looking to help teach their children this important life skill, such as ensuring the table is at the right height and clear from clutter or distractions like the TV to encourage concentration.

The guidance also notes that while progress can be slow – and, as respondents to the StemProtect.co.uk survey agreed, messy – “it is important for them to learn the sequence and movements required for feeding”. The fine motor skills gained by putting these movements into practice also help your children’s brains develop as they grow.

Anna Edwards concluded:

“It might seem quicker and easier to help mealtimes along by assisting your child in eating – but this is a skill that they need to learn for themselves. By cutting up food for your child, you’re not giving them the chance to practice and many children will abandon their cutlery altogether in response, reverting back to using their fingers.”

“Independence at school lunchtimes is just one of many reasons why this is important for children. By encouraging them to be present and engaged at mealtimes, you will help foster healthier attitudes to food, mindfulness about what they are eating – which can lead to healthier food choices – and, of course, give them impeccable table manners for life!”

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