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Calais Jungle Kids and Misguided MP's

Somebody pointed out a story in the news today about the the problem of checking the ages of children, or people claiming to be children, before being allowed into the UK from the Calais jungle. Check out the story here.

2014-11-12_Calais_child cannot have age determined by dental x-rays due to differing maturation
Given that its estimated that there are up to 1,300 unaccompanied children trying to cross the channel to join parents or relatives there is clearly a need to do something about it. Some of the kids are as young as 8 years old.

MP David Davies suggested that their ages could be verified by X raying them and establishing true age by the development of their teeth.

Well that's a no I'm afraid. Apart from the dubious ethics of irradiating people for non therapeutic reasons, its totally inaccurate.

Teeth develop in different people at different speeds. They erupt at different ages; their roots fully form slowly afterwards and at different speeds. It's possible in a growing child or teenager to get a rough estimate of age from their dentition, but its inaccurate by up to 2-3 years. If you are looking at checking for those who are over (or under) 18, there is no hope.

For instance: I have children. One started to teeth at about two months old, one at six months and one at eight months. Later on, they all started to grow their adult teeth at different ages and I dare say that had I taken scanning X rays of them all at say their 12th birthdays, there would have been a variety of combinations of adult and baby teeth, and all at different stages of development

So, no it won't work - and the British Dental Association said as much later in the day.

On a final note: We are frequently asked when baby teeth come through - the answer is about six months - but it varies. If you'll forgive the ad at the beginning, here is a great video that explains it all....Your Baby's Teething Timeline! 
Richard
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Sunday, 15 September 2019

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