New survey shows parents are avoiding taking children with toothache to the dentist

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A new survey has revealed that an alarming number of parents are avoiding taking their child to the dentist when they have dental pain. Research conducted by a team at Queen Mary University London estimates that avoiding dental appointments is costing the NHS £2.3 million per year.

According to researchers, parents are failing to take their children to the dentist when they are suffering from toothache, and this is contributing to complications, which require hospital treatment further down the line. Only a third of parents who went to an emergency care centre or a pharmacy had taken their child to a dentist and the research team found that parents were visiting hospitals and GP surgeries rather than dental practices.

Researchers analysed data from more than 7,000 adults who had been to community pharmacies in London to collect medication for their children. Two thirds of parents were picking up pain relief medication for oral pain, but less than a third of children had seen a dentist beforehand.

Lead researcher, Vanessa Muirhead, said that children who suffer from dental pain should see a dentist to ascertain the cause of discomfort and identify effective treatment options. Pain relief is a temporary solution, which doesn’t treat the root cause, and neglecting decay can increase the risk of infection and abscesses.

Dr Muirhead suggested that the findings of the study indicate that parents are using the wrong health services and neglecting dental issues, which is contributing to increased pressure on the NHS and causing children to require intensive treatment for preventable issues.

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