LGA warns of children’s ‘oral health crisis’ as tooth extractions increase by 61%
Children are facing an oral health crisis, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned following figures showing that the cost of children’s tooth extractions in hospitals has increased by 61% in the past five years.
Hospitals spent £35m on multiple tooth extractions for under 18s in 2014-15 compared to £21m in 2010-11.
Dental treatment procedures for children increased from 32,457 to 40,970 – more than 100 a day – in the past five years, and dental decay is now the top cause of hospital admission for children aged five to nine, with nearly 26,000 admitted in 2013-14, or 8.7% of all admissions.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, the LGA’s community wellbeing spokesperson, said: “Our children's teeth are rotting because they are consuming too much food and drink high in sugar far too often. As these figures show, we don't just have a child obesity crisis, but a children's oral health crisis too.
“What makes these numbers doubly alarming is the fact so many teeth extractions are taking place in hospitals rather than dentists. This means the level of tooth decay is so severe that removal is the only option.”
The LGA warned that children are having to miss school to attend operations and that poor oral health is disrupting their ability to socialise.
They said that the government’s delayed childhood obesity strategy should include a reduction of sugar content, teaspoon labelling of sugar content in soft drinks, and greater availability of water in nurseries, schools and colleges.
The LGA has previously warned that cuts in public health spending will make it harder to tackle childhood obesity.
Children in the UK are the biggest soft drink consumers in Europe, with 40% of 11-15 year olds having at least one a day. Under 10s get almost a fifth of their sugar intake from soft drinks and 11-18 year olds get almost a third.
(Image c. Michael Conroy from AP/ Press Association Images)