Latest NHS dental statistics reveal concerns for children

Using the most recent figures, released by the NHS this week, the Dental Law Partnership has discovered that just 58.7% of children aged 0-17, living in England, have attended an appointment at an NHS dentist in the 12 months prior to October 2018.

Whilst the attendance rates do vary across the country, with London having the lowest percentage of attenders (49.9%) and Greater Manchester the highest (64.3%), the figures show that millions of children that have not seen an NHS dentist, whether for a check-up or other dental treatment, in the last year.

This is despite dental care being provided free of charge by the NHS to children aged 0-17. The Dental Law Partnership believe that dental anxiety or phobia could be playing a part in the low numbers of child attenders, to the potential detriment of the nation’s oral and wider health.

Dentist Chris Dean, MD of dental negligence claim experts, the Dental Law Partnership, said, “The data highlights that a significant number of children across England are not seeing an NHS dentist regularly. The potential number of people, especially children, not getting regular check-ups, at the very least, is something we find very worrying, because this is the way that dental issues are picked up before they become much worse, causing lots of discomfort, pain and stress. We understand that many people worry when it comes to visiting their dentist, and parents can even pass their own anxiety on to their children. However, we want to encourage people of all ages to make oral health a priority.”

The below table shows the latest attendance data released by the NHS for all regions in England:

Region % of 0-17 year olds attending an NHS dentist between Oct 2017-Sept 2018
Greater Manchester 64.3%
Yorkshire & Humber 63.7%
Cheshire & Merseyside 63.7%
Lancashire & South Cumbria 62.5%
Cumbria & North East 62.3%
North Midlands 60.5%
South West of England 60.5%
Central Midlands 59.6%
Hampshire, Isle of Wight & Thames Valley 59.1%
Kent, Surrey & Sussex 57.5%
East Midlands 56.5%
West Midlands 55.8%
London 49.9%

The Dental Law Partnership has designed an infographic that aims to help both adults and children to manage any anxiety they feel about visiting the dentist.

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