Extraction procedures carried out in UK hospitals are costing the NHS millions of pounds per year, it has been confirmed. Last year, the NHS spent more than £35 million on dental procedures, which could have been prevented.
According to statistics from the Local Government Association (LGA), a total of 42,911 extractions were carried out on children in England last year. This equates to 170 extractions per day at a cost of £36.2 million.
The new figures demonstrate an increase of almost 20% in extractions over the last four years, with the NHS spending approximately £165 million on treating decay since 2012.
A spokesperson for NHS England described the situation as an “unfortunate and unnecessary epidemic” and blamed the surge in cases of decay on an increase in sugar consumption. The figures have been released just days after Public Health England launched a new campaign to encourage parents and children to scrap sugary snacks in favour of healthier options.
The LGA, which represents a total of 37 councils in Wales and England, has called for more to be done to tackle excessive sugar consumption and suggested measures such as reducing the sugar content of soft drinks and using a teaspoon labelling system, which would show buyers how many teaspoons of sugar each product contains.
Dental decay is the most common cause of hospital admissions among children in the UK.