Toddlers having teeth out because parents won’t take them to dentist 

8 Jun

 Toddlers are increasingly having their teeth extracted because too many parents think they are too young for the dentist, leading surgeons have warned.

New figures show that 80 per cent of one to two year olds in England did not visit the dentist in the last year, despite the fact NHS dental care for children is free.

It comes amid soaring numbers of children having teeth extracted in hospital, including those less than a year old.

Dental surgeons said parents were failing to bring babies toddlers for check-ups, with “widespread misunderstandings” about when infants should first visit the dentist.

Many parents do not worry about baby teeth, knowing they will be replaced by permanent teeth.

But dentists said getting children into the good habits early was important, because otherwise they were likely to neglect replacement teeth and could become scared of going to the dentist. 

Guidance states youngsters should have regular dental check ups, starting from when their first teeth appear – which usually occurs around six months of age.

New figures collated by the Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) at the Royal College of Surgeons show that 80 per cent of one- to two-year-olds in England did not visit an NHS dentist in the year to March 31, 2017.

The figures also show that 60 per cent of children aged one to four did not have a dental check-up in the same period, the RCS said.

The latest annual figures show that there were 9,220 cases of tooth extractions performed in hospitals in England on children aged one to four – a 24 per cent rise in a decade.

They included 48 cases where infants were less than a year old.

The FDS said many of these cases are attributable to tooth decay – which is 90 per cent preventable through good oral hygiene.

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