BDA Calls For Urgent Action to Stem Rising Tide of Childhood Decay

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The British Dental Association has called for urgent action to tackle childhood decay in the UK.

Leading dentist Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen was speaking following the publication of figures that suggest thousands of children required dental treatment in hospital last year. Mr Overgaard-Nielsen said it is well documented that decay is the most common reason for childhood hospital admissions, however he also stated that numerous teeth are also removed in dental practices. He said the focus should be on prevention rather than cure. Dental treatment for children currently costs the NHS around £35 million per year.

New figures show that almost 180,000 teeth were removed from children in dental practices in England in 2014/2015. This number is separate from procedures carried out in hospital under general anaesthetic.

England’s chief dental officer, Sara Hurley, said that it’s a sad reality that thousands of children are suffering from a preventable illness. One of the main contributing factors is diet, with many youngsters drinking fizzy, acidic drinks on a daily basis. She echoed the BDA’s sentiments and said it was time to “get serious” about oral disease prevention. She urged parents to pay more attention to food labels and try to reduce sugar intake at home. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are also essential for healthy teeth and gums.

Ms Hurley also called on local authorities to act to try and discourage junk food outlets from tempting children on their way home from school by changing licensing agreements.

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