60% of young children didn’t see a dentist last year

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New research suggests that 60% of children aged 4 and under didn’t see a dentist last year.

Analysis of NHS Digital data, which was performed by the Royal College of Surgeons, also revealed that 40% of children aged over four went without a dental check in 2018.

Dental decay, which is preventable in the vast majority of cases, is the leading cause of hospital admissions in children in the UK. Regular checks can help to lower the risk of decay significantly, but statistics show that most young children aren’t seeing a dentist on a regular basis. Guidelines recommend 6-monthly check-ups for children aged over 12 months.

The publication of the data coincides with research that claims that patients across England are struggling to get dental appointments, however, child places are much more readily available than NHS adult places. While cost is a barrier for some adults, NHS dental care is free of charge for children.

The figures have led to further criticism of the government by the British Dental Association, but a spokesperson for the Department of Health said that ministers are working with NHS England to create more places, improve access and encourage parents to take their child to the dentist on a regular basis from a young age.

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