More than a quarter of five-year-olds in Burnley could have tooth decay, figures show
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Some 294 of the 1,139 five-year-olds in the town were examined by dentists in the 2021-22 school year, according to a report by the National Dental Epidemiology Programme.
Of those, 27.5% had tooth decay, with around four teeth affected on average. Overconsumption of sugary snacks and drinks is the most common cause, the report reveals.
The British Dental Association said the Government remains “asleep at the wheel” and should do more to help deprived families afford dental care.
Eddie Crouch, British Dental Association chairman, said: “Whether it’s providing access to basic care, rolling out tried and tested programmes in schools, or fluoridating water, our youngest patients require deeds not words.”
David Fothergill, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said untreated dental conditions are one of the most prevalent diseases affecting children’s ability to speak, eat, play and socialise.
“Oral health inequality is expected to grow owing to the scale of backlogs in primary care, which limit the chance to catch problems early.
“The Government should recommit to vital measures to combat childhood obesity and diet-related ill health, such as the sugar levy, which has helped cut down the consumption of drinks with high sugar content.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said NHS dentists saw 43.6% more children in the last year while the number of dentists rose by more than 500. The Government is also investing more than £3b. in NHS dentistry.
“We know tooth decay is often linked to deprivation and we are taking action to provide cost of living support."