New figures show North-South dental health divide
Newly published figures show a significant North-South dental health divide.
Statistics show that NHS dentists performed a total of 9.8 million fillings, tooth extractions and fissure sealants on adults and 3.3 million children in England in 2020/2021. The figures for the number of procedures were highest in the North of the country and lowest in the South.
Nationally, dentists performed 219 procedures per 1,000 adults and 284 procedures per 1,000 children. In some areas, including Nottingham, the numbers exceeded 400 per 1,000 people.
Dental health is a subject of fierce debate at the moment, with NHS dentist numbers falling and more and more people struggling to get NHS dental appointments. There are concerns that oral health standards will decline in the future, with many children and adults unable to access routine appointments or treatment for issues, such as decay and gum disease. The figures from 2020/2021 also indicate that the gap between different regions in England could increase.
Data released by the Liberal Democrats via the Freedom of Information Act suggests that in some parts of the country, children are waiting up to 18 months for dental treatment under general anaesthetic. Health spokesperson for the party, Daisy Cooper, said that access to dental care had become a ‘postcode lottery’ and described the situation as ‘heartbreaking.’ In some cases, children are waiting years to have teeth extracted in hospital due to backlogs and a shortage of appointments. Tooth decay is currently the most common reason for hospital admissions among children in the UK.
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