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Hospital operations for child teeth removal increase in England

From BBC - January 12, 2018

Dentists have accused the government of having a "short-sighted" approach to tooth decay in England after hospital operations to remove children's teeth increased to nearly 43,000.

There were 42,911 operations in 2016-17 - up from 40,800 the previous year and 36,833 in 2012-13, NHS figures show.

The British Dental Association said England had a "second-class" dental service compared to Wales and Scotland.

The government said it was "determined" to reduce the number of extractions.

Doctors said many of the tooth extractions would be caused by the food and drink children consume and were therefore "completely preventable".

'Startling' figures

An analysis of NHS figures by the Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, found the equivalent of 170 hospital tooth extractions a day were being carried out on under-18s.

These are done under general anaesthetic, rather than by a dentist.

The operations would have cost the NHS about 36m last year and 165m since 2012, the LGA found.

Mick Armstrong, chairman of the BDA, said: "These statistics are a badge of dishonour for health ministers, who have failed to confront a wholly preventable disease.

"Tooth decay is the number one reason for child hospital admissions, but communities across England have been left hamstrung without resources or leadership."

The BDA said England was receiving a "second-class service" because, unlike Wales and Scotland, it has no dedicated national child oral health programme.

It said the government's centrepiece policy Starting Well - aimed at improving oral health outcomes for "high-risk" children - had received no new funding and was operating in parts of just 13 local authorities in England.

'Cutting back'

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