Statistics for child extractions in England raise concerns

The British Society of Dental Hygiene & Therapy (BSDHT) has added its voice to those condemning the figures for hospital tooth extractions for children in England.

In 2016-17, there were 42,911 operations to remove children’s teeth, according to the NHS. This is up from 40,800 the previous year and 36,833 in 2012-13. Tooth decay is the number-one reason for child hospital admissions in England.

Many of these operations were preventable, because they were due to the consumption of sugary food and drink.

The government responded by saying it was “determined” to improve statistics. The Sugar Tax is due to come into effect in April, plus there are plans to expand the Starting Well initiative, introduced to improve outcomes for children in high-priority areas.

The BSHDT’s First Smiles campaign sees professionals spreading the word about oral hygiene to children in their communities, by visiting nurseries and schools. Including games and quizzes, the emphasis is on fun as well as learning.

The BSHDT believes that dental hygienists and dental therapist have a key role in educating young people about making healthy choices, effective cleaning and the importance of regular appointments.

Find out how to take part in First Smiles and help to inspire change.


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