Fears for Portsmouth children, as dental check-up attendance rate drops

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Health experts in Portsmouth have expressed fears for children, as new figures suggest that the number of youngsters attending dental appointments has fallen.

Recent statistics from Public Health England showed that only 55.3% of children in Portsmouth visited a dentist last year. This is a decrease on the previous year, and a lower figure than the regional and national average.

Dentists recommend 6-monthly check-ups for children from the age of 12-18 months, but the figures show that parents are failing to take heed of this advice. With 45% of children not going to the dentist in the last 12 months, dentists are worried that rates of decay could rise in the area. Routine checks only take a few minutes, they drastically reduce the risk of decay, and they are available free of charge on the NHS for under 18’s.

Former dentist and chair of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Dental Committee, Phil Gowers, said that the statistics are worrying because issues in childhood and adolescence put children at risk of complex dental problems later in life. Missing out on routine appointments increases the risk of decay, the main cause of childhood hospital admissions across the UK.

In light of the statistics, health experts have urged parents in Portsmouth to get in touch with their local dental practice and arrange an appointment for their children. For those who are not registered with an NHS dentist, details of clinics that are offering places can be found on the NHS Choices website.

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