Cheshire councillor calls for rapid action to improve access to children’s dental services
A Cheshire West and Chester councillor has called for rapid action to improve access to children’s NHS dental services.
Cllr Bob Cernik, council cabinet member for children and families, said that urgent intervention was needed to tackle “backlog Britain.” Mr Cernik suggested that the country is “stuck in a queue” with everything from dental services and GP centres to courts and passport offices affected.
Data shows that 55 under 11s and 40 children aged between 11 and 19 were admitted to hospital for tooth extraction under general anaesthetic in 2021 in Cheshire West and Chester. Cllr Cernik is concerned that numbers will continue to rise because children who are already in pain are waiting for appointments and youngsters can’t access routine care.
Figures show that tooth decay has been the most common cause of hospital admissions among UK children for the last ten years. Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, it is estimated that over 12.5 million dental appointments for children have been lost.
Charlotte Waite, chair of the Community Dental Services Committee at the British Dental Association, said that “tooth extractions have collapsed” but the number of children who need treatment in hospital has not decreased. This means that many children are waiting while dealing with severe pain and discomfort. Some could be waiting for over a year to go into hospital, such is the extent of the backlog.
Tooth decay is most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene and a diet high in sugar. Dentists recommend twice-daily brushing, frequent dental checks and a healthy, balanced diet with a limited intake of sugary and acidic foods and drinks for good oral health.
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