Saturday, April 11, 2009

30,000 UK Children a Year Are in Hospital for Treatment of Dental Decay or Extractions

nhs dentistry

This number of children is almost unbelievable since dental decay (caries) is so easily preventable.

Researchers who analysed hospital data said it was "worrying" that the number of under-17s hospitalised for dental treatment had been rising since 1997.

They found children from poor areas were twice as likely to need treatment as those from more affluent families.

Experts said the findings, published in the British Dental Journal, highlighted a major public health issue.

It has led to criticism of Labour's policy relating to NHS dentists and calls by some for compulsory water fluoridation.

The data revealed there were 517,885 individual courses of dental treatment in NHS hospitals for children up to the age of 17 between 1997 and 2006.

The total number of children needing treatment was 470,113 and 80% of admissions involved extraction - in two-thirds of cases because of tooth decay.

The peak age for children needing teeth taken out was five.

Prof David Moles, who led the study at Plymouth's Peninsula Dental School, said yearly rises in hospital admissions had come despite rates of tooth decay and infection remaining steady.

The reasons for this would have to be identified "in order to cut the number of admissions, improve dental care for children and ultimately reduce the financial burden to the NHS", he said.

Dr Paul Ashley, head of paediatric dentistry at University College London's Eastman Dental Institute, was the second author of the study.

He said: "Two aspects of the study are particularly worrying - the rise in the number of general anaesthetics being given to children, and the widening gulf in dental health between social classes."

He said general anaesthetics could be fatal to children.
The general anestetic is a definite worry but could be managed with different anesthetic modalities, albeit they would be more expensive as they would be done on an outpatient basis.

However, there is NO WAY that this many children should have to undergo such large amounts of dental treatment.

The UK government must seriously evaluate where their resources are being allocated or get the hell out of the dentistry business all together.

Prevention is the key and the resolve to implement a public health program of education.

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