Over 40% of children didn’t attend the dentist last year.
NHS statistics show that 4 in 10 children haven’t been for regular check ups. The British Dental Association calls the figure ‘embarrassing’.
Tooth decay remains the most common reason young children go to hospital. The BDA say regular dental check-ups are the key to preventing tooth decay in children and urge the government to invest in educating the public. Guidelines recommend children see a dentist at least once a year.
The statistics also show that 6.7m children went for a free dental check-up in the year to June – equivalent to 57.9% of all under-18s in England. A regional breakdown of the figures shows that the North of England has the highest attendance. With 62% of children seeing a dentist there, but in London the figure was just 48%. Aside from examinations, children were most likely to receive a fluoride varnish treatment. This is painted on to the teeth to strengthen the enamel, making it more resistant to decay. This particular treatment has shown a 20% increase when compared to the year before.
These figures suggest a small dip in children having teeth extracted in dental practices. However, there are indications that tooth extractions due to decay continue to be the top reason children aged five to nine are admitted to hospital. Figures in 2015 show a 10% rise in the number of children requiring tooth extraction. It can be assumed that number hasn’t fallen much.
Chair of general dental practice at the British Dental Association, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, has said:
“It’s clear we have a problem when one in three children are missing out on free dental treatment.
“NHS dentistry has been left to fend for itself, without investment, a strategy, or any attempt at public education.
“These numbers are a national embarrassment, and will not budge until ministers change tack.”
He also said:
“We need a concerted effort to get parents, health professionals and government on the same page.”
What are your thoughts on children not attending the dentist? Do you think it is crucial that they have their oral health monitored?