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UK Against Fluoridation

Saturday, September 24, 2016

UK - Just four in ten children have seen an NHS dentist in last years

Child having teeth examined Professor Nigel Hunt, dean of the faculty of dental surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, said: "There is nothing to smile about in these woeful statistics.

"With the average five-year-old now eating their own weight in sugar each year, it is alarming that 42.1 per cent of children failed to visit an NHS dentist at all in the last year.

"It is appalling that in the 21st century, tooth decay remains the most common reason why children aged five to nine are admitted to hospital. In some cases, these children undergo multiple tooth extractions under general anaesthetic - despite the fact that tooth decay is almost entirely preventable.

Izzi Seccombe, from the Local Government Association, said the figures were “deeply worrying”.

"Regular dentist trips can ensure tooth decay is tackled at an early stage, and avoid the need for far more invasive treatment in hospital later on,” she said.

The statistics reflect visits to NHS dentists. Experts pointed out that in some areas- such as Kensington and Chelsea – low numbers of visits to NHS dentists might be because families were more likely to pay for treatment.

Extractions were most common in South Tyneside and least common in Richmond upon Thames. The data also shows a 20 per cent rise in a year in fluoride varnish treatments for children. This is when a varnish is painted on to the teeth to strengthen the enamel, making it resistant to decay.

Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, from the British Dental Association said: "When half of adults - and nearly five million children - fail to see the dentist, ministers have some very serious questions to answer.

"This isn't patient apathy, this is what you get when governments treat oral health as an optional extra. Effective prevention is impossible without regular check-ups, and to date ministers have been unwilling to get that message across."

Dr Sandra White, Director of Dental Public Health, Public Health England, said: “Tooth decay is a largely preventable disease that can lead to dental problems throughout life. For children, tooth decay can cause pain, problems with sleep, days off school and problems eating and socialising. Treatment can involve having teeth removed under general anaesthetic.

"Parents and carers can help reduce dental decay by reducing the amount of sugary foods and drinks in their children’s diet and offering just milk and water to drink. Parents should supervise young children and encourage older children to brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, especially before bed, and take them to the dentist regularly.”


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