ADG Urges Government to Prioritise Child Oral Health

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ADG responds to latest NHS figures showing “collapse” in child dental visits during lockdown

The Association of Dental Groups has responded to yesterday’s (25th February) publication of the latest NHS Dental Statistics Biannual report for England 2020-2021. The Association says the new figures show “collapse in children’s dental visits as a consequence of the pandemic”.

The statistics reveal that overall, 3.6 million children were seen by an NHS dentist in the 12 months up to 31st December 2020, which equates to 29.8% of the child population.

This compares to seven million children seen by an NHS dentist in the 12 months up to 31st December 2019, which was 58.4% of the child population in the previous report link here demonstrating the dramatic effect of the pandemic on oral healthcare for children during 2020.

Neil Carmichael, Chair of the ADG, said: “Before lockdown, just under 60% of children had visited an NHS dentist in the 12 months to December 2019. The first lockdown when dentists were closed and subsequent constraints on activity has resulted in a dramatic collapse in child visits to their NHS dentist.

“The fear is that dentists will now have their work cut out dealing with tooth decay among children and I know that many dentists have already raised their concerns about the future of children’s oral health.

“I would call on the Government to focus on addressing the backlog of oral healthcare for children as a priority in the year ahead. We need to take action now to prevent this unmet need translating into more hospital operations than ever to remove children’s teeth.”

The latest NHS dental statistics can be found by visiting https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-dental-statistics/2020-21-biannual-report