THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN FAIL To SEE DENTIST
THOUSANDS of children across Greater Manchester are failing to make regular dental appointments.
More than 40,000 children in Manchester alone have not seen an NHS dentist in the last year, according to newly-released figures.
The British Dental Association has accused the government of an unwillingness to engage with hardto-reach families, saying it could save money through earlier intervention.
Data from the NHS shows just 64 per cent of children in Manchester saw an NHS dentist in the 12 months to June 2018, though this is more than the 59pc average across England. It means 42,874 children in the area have not been for their check-up over the period, despite NHS guidelines saying they should be seen every 12 months. NHS dental care for children is free.
The figures also show that more than 20,000 children in Salford and 15,000 in Rochdale have not seen an NHS dentist in the last year.
The BDA has called on authorities in England to follow the example of the devolved Scottish and Welsh governments, who have set up programmes reaching out to children in schools.
The BDA’s chair of general dental practice, Henrik OvergaardNielsen, said that current outreach programmes were more likely to target people who already visit their dentist.
He said: “Sadly, the government has shown no interest in getting hard-to-reach families to attend, when prevention could save our NHS millions. In Scotland and Wales, dedicated national programmes are reaching out in nurseries and primary schools, yet in England the authorities have offered a few posters in dental practices.
“When tooth decay remains the number one reason for child hospital admissions, we need more than preaching to the converted.”
Figures show that one in two five-year-olds in Manchester inspected in the 2016-17 academic year had experienced tooth decay.
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “We want every single child and adult to have access to NHS care, whatever their background or location – and last year a record 6.9 million children were seen by a dentist, with numbers rising every year.”
More than 20,000 children in Salford did not see a dentist in the last year