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More than 100,000 children hospitalised for rotting teeth since 2018

More than 100,000 children hospitalised for rotting teeth since 2018
By Jess Hacker
22 January 2024

More than 100,000 children have been hospitalised since 2018 for rotting teeth, new analysis has revealed.

Data obtained by the Liberal Democrat party has indicated that of the 104,133 admissions, 16,113 occurred in 2023.

And more than half (52%) of the 30,966 admissions in the last year with tooth decay were children.

The data, obtained from 64 NHS trusts, found this to be equivalent to 85 admissions for tooth decay every day with 44 of those occurring in children.

Manchester University Trust had among the largest rates of children being admitted to hospital with tooth decay in 2023, at 1,731.

Across the whole population, there were more than 218,005 admissions for tooth decay in the last five years, or 100 a day.

Commenting on the figures, director of the NHS Confederation’s ICS Network Sarah Walter said: ‘Some ICSs are doing incredible work to improve access to care and treat more patients. But efforts to tackle the problems have been undermined by a number of issues including the cost of industrial action, inflation and the cost of living crisis.

‘While ICSs and providers will continue to do their best, they are struggling to invest in new schemes and there is little doubt that additional funding will be needed to boost capacity and improve children’s oral health.’

In December, the Government confirmed it will not force ICBs to appoint a dentist to their board, stating that it is already possible ‘where they deem [it] necessary’.

Analysis from 2023 showed there were 27,000 children in England are on waiting lists for NHS specialist dental care.

In September, analysis indicated 4.4 million children were not seen by an NHS dentist in the last 12 months.

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