An estimated 80 per cent of kids two years old and below in the UK failed to see a National Health Service (NHS) dentist in 2016, according to the Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) at the Royal College of Surgeons.
These children missed an appointment with an NHS dentist last year due to “widespread misunderstanding”, the FDS said. If this trend continues, more toddlers will have to visit a dentist for the extraction of decaying teeth, instead of a simple routine check-up.
Free of Charge
FDS Dean Nigel Hunt said that costs should not be an excuse for taking children to a dental check-up, as this service is free for those under 18 years old. Despite this fact, most parents get confused, even when advised by an NHS staff, on when they should schedule their children’s first appointment.
The faculty’s analysis showed that four out of five children under two years old did not undergo a dental check-up in 2016. This has slightly improved in the early part of 2017, partly because of news coverage about tooth decay and the dental health risks of sugar consumption.
Still, Hunt said that children should start receiving dental care as early as possible, whether it is from the NHS or a private dentist in Bath, London or other cities.
Between 2015 and 2016, dentists performed 9,220 tooth extractions among children aged one to four years old in England. Hunt said teeth removal could have been prevented with proper hygiene and avoidance of sugary food and beverages, aside from seeing a dentist.
The British Dental Association chairman agreed with Hunt, saying that tooth decay is the top reason for hospital admissions among children, which cost more than scheduling a dental check-up in the first place. Parents should be informed that the NHS provides free dental check-ups for toddlers, so costs should not keep them from seeing a dentist.