Rising tooth decay sees hundreds of young children have rotting teeth removed
PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 March 2019
A tooth decay ‘crisis’ has seen nearly twice as many children in North Somerset have their teeth extracted compared to the national average.
The latest NHS figures have been described as ‘horrifying’ by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) which said the ‘distressing’ experience is avoidable.
NHS’ findings show under-10s in the area underwent the procedure in hospitals 230 times between April 2017 and March 2018.
Of those, 215 were to remove rotted teeth – where decay could have been prevented.
This gives an overall rate of 792 procedures per 100,000 population – the national average is 425 per the same amount.
RCS professor Michael Escudier said: “Tens of thousands of young children have to go through the distressing experience of getting their teeth removed under general anaesthetic for a problem which is 90 per cent avoidable.”
Public Health England has also claimed most children consume more than double the daily recommended sugar intake – which can have a ‘serious impact’ on oral health.
Principal of The Houston Group David Houston, who owns practices in Weston, Nailsea and Clevedon, said: “I believe the tooth decay crisis is not quite so evident in North Somerset.
“It is a different level of decay, which is happening much less than it was at the start of my career – mainly because of better toothbrushes and people understanding more about oral health.”
Dr Houston has been in the profession since 1985 and has jointly owned the main Weston practice with his wife Ceri since 1990.
He continued: “Carbonated drinks are contributing significantly to tooth decay, but I think people are becoming more aware of this and the issue is getting better on the whole.
“It’s worth noting children under-seven should be supervised when brushing their teeth as they may miss areas, which could be contributing to the issue.”
“The answer is to keep educating people, as tooth decay is entirely preventable.”
PHE dental lead, Dr Sandra White, said: “Small changes like making swaps to replace sugary drinks to low-sugar alternatives can have the biggest impact on children’s teeth.”