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Children’s tooth decay costs NHS £35 million a year


The cost of removing rotten teeth from the mouths of children has soared by over 60% from 2010/2011, reaching a shocking £35 million a year, based on reports from councils. The Local Government Association (LGA) also revealed that the children’s education could be affected by the amount of time taken off to get dental treatment.

According to the LGA’s figures, more than a hundred operations a day are carried out to remove multiple decayed teeth from children and teenagers in hospitals across England. It has been suggested that increased consumption of fizzy drinks and sugary foods is to blame for the rise in tooth extractions due to cavities.

The numbers also reveal that a shocking £35.3 million was spent on the operations to remove the teeth over 2014/2015, a huge increase from £21.9 million in 2010/2011. Spokeswoman for the LGA, Izzi Seccombe, said that almost half of 11-15-year-olds have a fizzy drink at least once a day, which is not only causing tooth decay, it is also contributing to childhood obesity. She added that these figures were ‘doubly alarming’ because the extractions were taking place in hospital and not at a dental clinic. Izzi advised that improved oral health can ‘help children learn at school, and improve their ability to thrive and develop.’


Thousands of children heading to hospital for tooth removal


According to the Press Association there has been a significant an increase in the number of children under the age of ten who have been taken to the hospital to have one or more teeth extracted because of dental decay. The problem is apparently more common among boys but there are also over 14,000 cases among children under the age of five of both genders.

Overall, there have been nearly 130,000 cases of children under the age of ten undergoing dental treatment as inpatients at the hospital since 2011. Data from The Health and Social Care Information Centre released statistics showing that children of all ages have been taken to hospital for tooth extractions and the numbers have risen steadily since the period of 2011/2012.

Professor Nigel Hunt, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons called this increase ‘unacceptable’ and described tooth decay as ‘distressing’ with ‘serious social and financial implications’. He went on to say that ‘This issue urgently needs to be addressed, especially since 90% of tooth decay is preventable’ and he urged parents to take their children to the dentist regularly, as well as teaching them to look after their teeth properly so that trips to the hospital are unnecessary due to tooth decay.


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