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Rotten teeth 'more likely' in deprived areas

From BBC - November 1, 2017

Children from Blackburn are four times more likely to have fillings than their counterparts in South Gloucestershire, says a new report on dental health.

The report found that as well as there being a regional divide, there was a consistent gap between the dental health of the rich and poor in England.

People from the most deprived backgrounds were twice as likely to be admitted to hospital for dental work.

But the Nuffield Trust report found an overall improvement in dental health.

The report, Root causes: quality and inequality in dental health, collated the most recent data to look at the state of the nation's teeth.

The statistics revealed a significant variation across England, both geographically and socio-economically.

On the whole, dental health is better in the south and east of England, and poorer in the north of England - although London is the exception to this rule.

Between 2008 and 2015, the proportion of five-year-olds with experience of tooth decay fell by a fifth.

However, the proportion of five-year-olds with missing, decayed or filled teeth ranges from 14% to about 57% across English local authorities.

Data from 2014-15 reveals that in the least deprived areas, 83% of five-year-olds had healthy teeth (with no tooth decay) compared with 70% in the most deprived areas.

In another example from 2015, 29% of children eligible for free school meals (an indicator of low income) had good overall oral health compared with 40% of those who were not eligible.

Children eligible for free school meals were less likely to attend a dental check-up.

Similarly, while rates of admission across England for tooth extraction fell between 2014 and 2015, a child in Yorkshire and The Humber is five times more likely to be admitted to hospital for a tooth extraction than a child in the east of England.

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