Children’s rotten teeth cost hospitals £35m per year

  • 100 operations a day for kids with bad teeth
  • Bill for removing British children’s decayed teeth has now reached £35m a year
  • Too many parents unaware of the long-term consequences of tooth neglect in children

More than 100 operations a day are being carried out in hospitals in England to remove rotten teeth from children and teenagers – headline news from the BBC News.

The shocking figure represents more than a £35m a year burden on the NHS and many children are missing school because they need to take time off for dental work.

NHS England is carrying out 100 operations every day, the BBC reported.

Five years ago there were more than 32,000 dental procedures on under 18s. That figure last year was at nearly 42,000 – with an increasing number of extractions done in hospitals as emergency cases.

We were shocked to learn from the report that more kids visit the hospital because of dental problems more than any other reason.

Children’s rotten teeth cost hospitals £35m per year

Children’s rotten teeth cost hospitals £35m per year

Fizzy drinks to blame

The blame lies squarely on high sugar content fizzy drinks. The Beeb said a child could consume the equivalent to 5,545 sugar cubes every year. NHS has responded with a health awareness advert.

We want to say this is a new problem, but it’s not and has been going on at what we perceive as critical levels for at least five years.

Many of those children who end up in hospital for surgery will have full clearances, and we can’t imagine the sense of social misplacement that could bring to a child.

As dental practitioners, we have a moral obligation to do all we can to protect the smiles of youngsters so we must firstly target parents. Only through them can the necessary discipline of proper brushing be maintained.

childrens rotten teeth - fizzy drinks

The Royal College of Surgeons has advised that parents should supervise or even brush their children’s teeth until the age of 14 when their adult teeth are fully formed.

In one TV interview, it emerged a child was bottle fed sweet tea and sugar drinks – the worst possible scenario for bringing on tooth decay and gum disease.

Last year the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) urged local authorities to improve the oral health of their communities by teaching teeth brushing in our schools.

As NICE says, dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease can have a wide range of effects, not only causing pain and the need to remove decayed teeth but affecting a person’s ability to speak, eat, smile and socialise.

The initiative was praised by dentists, but critics bleated on about the ‘nanny state.‘

Perhaps those who disagree should witness the distress failing teeth in children can cause.

Sadly, too many parents are unaware of the long-term implications of not supervising the cleaning of their children’s teeth.

Our dental therapist and hygienist, Sophie, is a practice favourite with children and the trust of her work is preventative dentistry. If you’re worried about your child’s teeth and oral health generally, book In with one of our dentists and ask to see her as part of any treatment plan.