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Seven out of 10 kids in England seen by NHS dentists

Figures will be of interest to not only policy makers and professionals but also to parents and patients

Seven out of ten children in England saw an NHS dentist in the 24 month period to June 2013 – a proportion that has remained relatively unchanged since 2006 according to new figures.

In the 24 month period to June 2013, 7.8 million children in England (69.1% of the child population aged under 18) were seen by an NHS dentist, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

While the actual number of children seeing a dentist has increased by 0.5% (by 41,000) since 2006-07 when this report series began, the proportion of the child population seen has remained fairly consistent at around the 70%.

The numbers of adult patients seen were 20.3 million in 2006-07 and 21.9 million in 2012-13 which is an increase of 7.8%. Despite this increase, the proportion of the adult population seen has also remained fairly consistent around the 52%, and was 52.5% for the 24 month period to June 2013.

Key findings in today’s NHS Dental Statistics report show that in 2012-132:

• There were more female than male dentists aged 35 years and under (56.1%, or 4,810 out of 8,579 dentists) which has been evident for the past seven years since 2006-07

• When looking at the gender breakdown of older dentists, three out of four dentists aged 55 years and over were male (2,434 out of 3,186)

• NHS dentists carried out 39.3 million Courses of Treatment (CoT), 249,000 fewer than the previous year (39.6 million, a fall of 0.6%)

• Half of Units of Dental Activity (UDA, which make up CoT) for non-paying adults were Band 3 complex NHS dental treatments (50.0%, or 14.4 million out of 28.7 million) whereas for patients who pay for dental treatments this was around one in four (27.5%, or 11.7 million out of 42.4 million)

• Over two million CoT for children included a fluoride varnish treatment (a 45.4% rise on 1.4 million in the previous year) and this is now the third most common dental treatment for children behind examinations and fillings/sealant restorations

• CoT in adults, that included a prescribed antibiotic item, increased by one third to 592,000, a rise of 32.6% on 447,000 in the previous year.

HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning said: 'Our figures show that, despite an increase in the number of children visiting an NHS dentist, the actual percentage of our child population paying a visit to the dentist’s chair has remained stable in recent years.

'The apparent lack of change will be of interest to not only policy makers and professionals but also to parents and patients. Data such as these are important to help understand service provision and public behaviours.'

Read the full report at www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/dental1213.
 

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