Kids Dental Services In Severe Decay
Graham Allen MP: ‘Time to act on child tooth decay’
Graham Allen, Labour MP for Nottingham North has called on the government to address the rising tide of hospital extractions and shocking inequalities in oral health, as official data reveals that 5-year-olds in Nottingham North are more than 4 times more likely to suffer from tooth decay than their peers in Jeremy Hunt’s constituency, with over a third of children (36%) affected.
Although dental decay can easily be prevented through reducing sugar consumption, regular brushing, and adequate exposure to fluoride, it has emerged as the number one reason why children aged 5 to 9 are admitted to hospital in the UK.
The number of kids admitted for tooth extractions – usually requiring a general anaesthetic – has gone up by a quarter over the past 4 years.
According to the latest figures, one in five (19.7%) of children in Nottingham have not seen a dentist for more than 2 years – while ideally they should have a check-up every 6 months.
Independent studies have shown problems with teeth can have a lasting impact on children’s school readiness, impair their nutrition, development, and ability to socialise with other children. Poor oral health can also significantly affect confidence and self-esteem, with more than a quarter of teenagers saying they are too embarrassed to smile or laugh due to the condition of their teeth.
The tooth decay crisis is also damaging long-term life chances, as a new survey by YouGov for the British Dental Association shows that 78% of people in East Midlands feel decayed teeth or bad breath would hinder a candidate’s chances of securing employment in public or client-facing roles – while only half that number (39%) felt the same about being overweight. 6 in 10 of respondents feel applicants with poor oral health would be at a disadvantage securing any job, with half believing it could hinder promotion prospects.
Graham Allen MP has called on the government to address deliver a real strategy for oral health, make the new dental contract truly preventive, and invest in NHS dentistry to improve access.
Speaking after a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Dentistry and Oral Health, Mr Allen said:
“Inequalities in the oral health of British children are truly shocking – it is simply not right that kids are more than 4 times more likely to suffer from decay just because they happened to be born in Nottingham North and not in Jeremy Hunt’s constituency.”
“It is simply not acceptable that tooth decay - an entirely preventable disease – is the number one reason our children are admitted to hospital. Politicians need to work with dentists, teachers and parents to ensure we can keep healthy teeth in healthy mouths, and give children the best possible start in life.”
“I am bringing a version of Teeth Team from Hull to Nottingham North. They have shown that there is huge benefits to linking dental practices with local schools and have someone visit the schools, check the kids teeth and teach them about the importance of good oral hygiene.”
“I hope that this scheme will see a reduction in tooth extractions and improve not only our kid’s teeth, but also their life chances.”