Fears rise over childrens' dental treatment

Dozens of children in South Tyneside had decaying teeth removed in hospital during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, new figures show.
Childrens' dental health fears riseChildrens' dental health fears rise
Childrens' dental health fears rise

The British Dental Association says the fall in treatments highlight a growing backlog of dental care after Government figures show that around 65 children in South Tyneside had at least one tooth removed in hospital in 2020-21.

That means around 196 in every 100,000 children in the area underwent a tooth extraction last year – down from 287 in 2019-20.

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The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities figures show that, natonally, 22,549 tooth extractions were completed in 2020-21 – a 58% decrease from 55,137 the previous year.

The BDA warned the extraction rates highlights the backlog caused by the pandemic.

Dr Charlotte Waite, chair of the BDA’s England Community Dental Services Committee, said: "The failure to tackle the backlog will hit those in our most deprived communities the hardest."

"It is the nation's poorest children who will feel the results as they struggle to eat, sleep and study."

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The BDA added that the dramatic reduction in teeth extractions is almost solely down to the pandemic and is not an indication of a change in demand or improving oral hygiene.

Dr Waite criticised the Government's inaction, stating that it is yet to offer clarity on the scale of the backlog or a plan of how to tackle it.

The Department for Health and Social Care said it has provided £50m to fund up to 350,00 additional NHS dental appointments.

A spokesperson said: "We are committed to levelling up dental health across the country."