Hundreds of children in the deprived areas of Sussex have had to undergo emergency dentistry as a result of tooth decay, the Freedom of Information acted has revealed.
Figures show that nine per cent of under-18s given a general or local anaesthetic in Sussex hospitals between April 2009 and March 2010 were having dental work, the local Argus newspaper reports.
Symptoms ranged from decay and disease, to serious cavities that required root canal work and abscesses to be drained in the more severe cases.
Records showed that one in 11 children who were admitted to hospitals in the county were suffering from dental problems and as a result some health workers are in support of the controversial debate over whether to add fluoride to tap water.
Fluoride is reported to strengthen tooth enamel and make teeth less susceptible to decay by reducing the amount of acid the bacteria on teeth produce, according to the British Dental Health Foundation.