30,000 kids in city not seen dentist in last year
MORE than 30,000 children in Coventry have not seen an NHS dentist in the last year, according to newly released figures.
Despite check-ups and treatment being free for under 18s, more than four in 10 of the city’s children missed out.
Tooth decay remains the leading cause of hospital admissions for children.
But NHS data shows that 41 per cent of children in Coventry has no dental check-up in the 12 months to September 2018, sadly in line with the national average.
That’s 31,620 children in the area not being checked over the period, despite NHS guidelines saying they should be seen at least once a year.
The British Dental Association (BDA) said the rate of check-ups for children is “national disgrace” and put it down to a lack of information to engage hard-to-reach families. A poll conducted by the organisation found one in four parents were not aware there was no charge for routine check-ups for their children.
The remaining 59 per cent of children in Coventry did see a dentist during the period.
Over the 12 months to June, 1,426 children received some kind of urgent dental treatment in Coventry.
According to dentists, these are mainly tooth extractions or fillings.
Among adults, 145,300 people in Coventry saw an NHS dentist in the 24 months prior to October 2018.
That is 53 per cent of the population, compared with 51 per cent across England.
‘Not enough help’The BDA’s chairman of general dental practice, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, said that current outreach programmes were more likely to target people who already visit their dentist.
He said: “The fact nearly five million children are missing out on free dental care is nothing short of a national disgrace, but is the logical result of policies from successive governments.
“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 to pop up in dental practices. Tooth decay is a preventable disease and remains the leading cause of hospital admissions for children, but instead of public information campaigns Westminster has offered radio silence.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman 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.”