Professor Nigel Hunt, dean of the Royal College of Surgeons’ faculty of dentistry, was speaking after new figures revealed alarming oral health habits in London. A recent report confirmed that 9 of the top 10 boroughs in the country for the worst rates of childhood dental appointment attendance are located in London. In Kensington and Chelsea, Hackney, and Tower Hamlets, more than two-thirds of children didn’t see a dentist last year, despite expert advice recommending 6-monhtly check-ups for children.
Professor Hunt said that it was “unacceptable” for so many children to miss out on dental appointments, and said that the capital should be “ashamed.” Some parents aren’t taking their children to see a dentist because they assume that they’ll have to pay, which is not the case, as NHS dental care is free of charge for children. In other cases, Prof Hunt suggested that parents aren’t taking the time to ensure that their child has regular dental check-ups, and they should be made aware of the importance of frequent dental checks.
Every year, more than 11,000 children in London are admitted to hospital for dental treatment for an illness, which is preventable. The number of procedures has almost doubled in the last 7 years, and parents need to be aware that they should be taking their children to the dentist on a regular basis from the age of 12 months old.