Millions of children are missing out on free NHS dental care due to dental anxiety, the Dental Law Partnership claims.
NHS data shows 58.7% of children (6.9 million) in England attended an NHS dentist appointment in the past year.
The Dental Law Partnership believes dental phobia could be the main reason behind the low attendance.
‘The data highlights that a significant number of children across England are not seeing an NHS dentist regularly,’ Chris Dean, managing director of dental negligence claim experts, the Dental Law Partnership, said.
‘The potential number of people, especially children, not getting regular check-ups, at the very least, is something we find very worrying.
‘This is the way that dental issues are picked up before they become much worse.
‘We understand many people worry when it comes to visiting their dentist.
‘Parents can even pass their own anxiety on to their children.
‘However, we want to encourage people of all ages to make oral health a priority.’
Attendance rates vary across the country, with London having the lowest percentage of attenders (49.9%).
Greater Manchester has the highest attendance rate, with 64.3% of children attending an NHS appointment.
The below table shows the latest attendance data released by the NHS for all regions in England:
|Region||% of 0-17-year-olds attending an NHS dentist between Oct 2017-Sept 2018|
|Yorkshire and Humber||63.7%|
|Cheshire and Merseyside||63.7%|
|Lancashire and south Cumbria||62.5%|
|Cumbria and north east||62.3%|
|South west of England||60.5%|
|Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Thames Valley||59.1%|
|Kent, Surrey and Sussex||57.5%|