More than 14,000 children aged five and under have been admitted to hospital for tooth extractions in 2014/15.
This comes from new analysis by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), which looked into NHS dental statistics for 2015/16, revealing that there has been a 10% rise in the number of children needing tooth extractions in the last four years.
‘These new figures should offer a wake-up call to the Government on its failure to get to grips with prevention,’ Mick Armstrong, chair of the British Dental Association said.
‘Under-fives are ending up in hospital for tooth extractions because successive governments have treated oral health as an afterthought.
‘An entirely preventable disease has been left to emerge as the leading cause of hospital admissions among children.
‘That means paying a premium for general anaesthesia, when we should be saving pain and money by aiming to keep healthy teeth in healthy mouths.
‘This evidence underlines the fact that oral health inequalities are widening.
‘Today sugar consumption is driving decay, simple health messages are struggling to be heard, and dentists are told their priority isn’t prevention, but hitting government targets.
‘We are dealing with an avoidable epidemic, and are looking to the Government for real leadership, not more half measures.’