Despite NHS dental treatment being free for under-18s, 42 per cent of children did not see a dentist in 2015/16. If you are looking for an NHS Dentist in Liverpool, we are still currently registering new patients. If you would like to register with our NHS Dentist, please visit our registration page here or alternatively you can contact us to discuss any concerns you may have.
The number of tooth extractions performed on babies and children up to the age of four in hospital has risen by a quarter (24 per cent) in England over the last decade. Baby getting teeth cleaned with fingertip brush.
No less than 84,086 tooth extractions were undertaken on babies and children up to the age of four between 2006/07 and 2015/16, according to NHS Digital figures.
The figures, provided under a Freedom of Information request made by dental surgeons, has resulted in them urging parents and the Government to fight harder to protect children as young as one from tooth decay and extractions caused by consuming too much sugar.
Professor Nigel Hunt, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) at the Royal College of Surgeons, which analysed the figures, said: “That children as young as one or two need to have teeth extracted is shocking.
"It’s almost certain that the majority of these extractions will be down to tooth decay caused by too much sugar in diets.
“When you see the numbers tallied up like this it becomes abundantly clear that the sweet habits of our children are having a devastating effect on the state of their teeth.
‘Distressing' figures are preventable
“Removal of teeth, especially in hospital under general anaesthetic, is not to be taken lightly. There tends to be an attitude of 'oh, they are only baby teeth' but in actual fact how teeth are looked after in childhood impacts oral health in adulthood. Baby teeth set the pattern for adult teeth, including tooth decay.”
Nigel Hunt added: “What is really distressing about these figures is that 90 per cent of tooth decay is preventable.”
By reducing sugar consumption, regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and routine dental visits, the FDS says the health of children’s teeth can be maintained, resulting in a reversal in future in the current trend of rises in tooth extractions amongst young children.
The figures also show 34,788 tooth extractions were performed on babies and children up to the age of nine in 2014/15 and 34,003 were done in 2015/16.
The FDS is calling for ‘a significant proportion of the money’ raised through the Government’s sugar levy to be spent on oral health education.
Professor Hunt added: “Sugar has an almost immediate damaging impact on teeth and if we teach parents and children to cut down on sweet treats and look after their teeth properly, there will be a positive knock-on effect for childhood obesity rates too.”
The British Dental Association (BDA) has attacked what it calls the Government’s lack of action on tooth decay.
Chair of the BDA Mick Armstrong said: "An entirely preventable disease is going almost unchallenged as the leading cause of hospital admissions among young children. These extractions are placing a huge strain on the NHS, and while governments in Wales and Scotland have set out dedicated strategies, ministers in England have offered little more than a collective shrug."