Children who require general anaesthetic (GA) to extract decaying teeth miss five days of school.
That’s according to a new study published in the British Dental Journal (BDJ), which found that it can take children up to a week to completely recover from the surgery.
The research also highlights that children from poorer backgrounds are up to three times more likely to be admitted to hospital for extractions under GA.
‘This study is not just a stark reminder of the huge personal cost that dental disease has for children and their families, but that the burden is disproportionately borne by the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in society,’ Mick Armstrong, BDA chair, said.
‘This is a national scandal and our political leaders must pay heed.
‘Why are we spending billions every year to treat bad teeth when we ought to be investing in prevention?’
The BDA estimates the NHS spent £35 million last year on hospital-based teeth extractions for children under 18.
This study found that extracting teeth under GA accounted for 1,510 missed schooldays in 2014/15, with 500 of those missed days coming from those children with the poorest backgrounds, compared with 165 in the least deprived areas.
‘The next government must not sit on its hands,’ Mick continued.
‘Dental disease is almost always preventable, and if ministers are genuinely interested in reducing the need for hospital admissions they must ensure that every community has the tools they need to make a difference.’