Local authorities raise concerns over sudden surge in demand for post-lockdown dental treatment

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Local authority leaders have raised concerns over a sudden surge in demand for post-lockdown dental treatment. 

In 2018/2019, NHS figures suggested that 177 multiple-tooth extractions were carried out on under 18’s every working day in England. This figure represented an increase of 17% compared to numbers for 2012/2013. The number of procedures rose from 38,208 to 44,685.

The deterioration in oral health standards is causing alarm among dental professionals, public health experts and local councillors, especially as in the first half of 2020, practices were closed for several weeks and routine services are not yet up and running again. The worry is that there will be a huge rise in demand for treatment as lockdown measures continue to ease, with dental professionals unable to provide a sufficient number of appointments. Clinics are prioritising urgent cases, and they are operating at reduced capacity to allow for social distancing and additional cleaning. 

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said that the figures from 2018/2019 underline the impact of neglecting the teeth and excessive sugar consumption. As dentists work to clear backlogs, the board is encouraging parents and children to be mindful of the impact of diet on oral health and to step up preventative measures to reduce the risk of decay. Brushing twice daily, avoiding eating and drinking sugary and acidic foods and drinks between meals and reducing sugar consumption can all help to protect the teeth and gums.

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