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Posted on 16th January 2017

Rotten teeth in children at record high

Last year at least 160 operations a day were carried out on children to remove several rotting teeth.

The number of under 18s are having more than one toot extracted at hospital reached a total of 40,800 procedures, costing the NHS more that £35million. 

The figures were gathered by the Local Government Association (LGA), and showed there was a 10.7 per cent rise on the number of operations carried out in 2012-2013.

When tooth decay is severe, the treatment must be carried out under a general anaesthetic in hospital, rather that at a dental practice. 

Public health experts have warned that not enough is being done to stop the high consumption of sugar by children. Public Health England revealed that children have half their daily sugar intake before they go to school in the morning.

The LGA is calling on the government to take tougher action on sugary drinks and snacks: “These figures are a stark reminder of the damage excessive sugar consumption is doing to our children’s teeth,” said Izzi Seccombe, Chairwoman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board. 

She continued: “It is deeply worrying that the type of dental treatment required is beyond the capacity of a local dentist due to the severity of the tooth decay and as a result has to be done in a hospital.”

Tooth decay is now the main reason for hospital admissions of children.

Mick Armstrong, chairman of the British Dental Association, told The Times: “The millions spent on child tooth extractions in hospitals are emblematic of the government’s disinterest in oral health.

“We simply cannot keep pouring NHS resources into avoidable surgery while ministers fail to deliver the goods on prevention. The sugar levy has to be the beginning of a process that sees communities given the tools and the leadership to turn the tide on decay.”

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