BDA warns child total tooth extractions evidence of continuing decay epidemic
The British Dental Association (BDA) has responded to new data on “full dental extractions” among children, warning it is just the most extreme evidence of an epidemic of tooth decay among the young, with those from disadvantaged backgrounds suffering the most.
According to official figures 322 children under 10 underwent the procedure - to remove all their teeth under general anaesthetic - in English hospitals in the last 5 years.
Dentist leaders have called on local and national authorities in England to do more to tackle preventable oral disease. Devolved governments in Wales and Scotland have set up dedicated programmes that have secured historic reductions in child tooth decay.
The BDA has characterised official efforts in England as “second class”, with the Government’s centrepiece Starting Well policy operating in parts of just 13 local authorities, with no new investment attached.
The BDA was a leading voice for the sugar levy. It has urged government to go further and faster to reduce sugar consumption, with compulsory action on marketing and reformulation of the high sugar products which are fuelling this epidemic.
Multiple extractions for young children have surged by 17% since 2012, costing the NHS an estimated £165 million. Last year 170 procedures took place in English hospitals every working day.
British Dental Association Chair Mick Armstrong said: “It’s tragic whenever a dentist has to perform a full clearance on a child, but in many hospitals, it is simply business as usual.
“Tooth decay is wholly preventable but remains the number one reason for admissions among young children. Sadly, these are just the most extreme examples of an epidemic that’s costing our NHS millions.
“The sugar levy is progress but must not mark the end of government interest. Kids in England deserve a real national effort to turn the tables on decay.”