Following our recent post on the Sugar Tax, this week the HealthBid blog considers some startling figures recently released by the Local Government Association (LGA) on the state of children’s oral health in England. The report highlights;

  • The equivalent of 170 operations per day are performed to remove multiple teeth in children.
  • There were a total of 42, 911 under-18 multiple teeth extractions in 2016/17 – costing the NHS £36.2 million.
  • This is a 17% increase on 2012/13 figures and a total cost increase of £165 million since 2012.  

The cost to the NHS is so staggering because the severity of the decay means treatment must be delivered in hospitals under general anaesthetic. Indeed, tooth extraction is the largest cause of hospital admission in 5-9 year olds.

Representing most UK Dentists, chairman of British Dental Association (BDA) said in reaction to the new figures; “These statistics are a badge of dishonour for health ministers, who have failed to confront a wholly preventable disease.” 

Experts suggest figures are likely a result of excessive consumption of sugary food and drink, coupled with poor oral hygiene. The BDA reports that children aged 11 – 18 get 40% of their added sugars from soft drinks. Similarly, the Faculty of Dental Surgery cites evidence that current intakes of sugar for children in the UK grossly exceeds recommendations.

Whilst it is of course essential to consider intersecting socio-economic factors, tooth decay is largely preventable through reduction in sugar consumption, a regular brushing routine and sufficient exposure to fluoride. Given a widespread Public Health focus on self-care, championing self-driven, non-clinical solutions to health problems, it would be unsurprising to see oral health take a prominent role in Children’s Services commissioning going forward. Especially where improved education and behavioural intervention can alleviate current pressures on an overstretched NHS.

Having written, managed and won a number of Children’s Services tenders over that past few years for our clients, HealthBid have a robust understanding of Commissioners expectations when it comes Children and Young Peoples (CYP) health. If you are interested in finding out more about what we do and how we can help you win more public sector work, give our Business Development Manager Laura Moore a call on 07341 338200.

Sources

BBC News - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42662425

BDA - https://www.bda.org/news-centre/press-releases/Child-decay-stats-badge-of-dishonour-for-ministers

Faculty of Dental Surgery - https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/search/#SearchTerm=childrens%20oral%20health

Gov.uk - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-oral-health-an-evidence-informed-toolkit-for-local-authorities

The Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/13/dentists-warn-of-child-tooth-decay-crisis-as-extractions-hit-new-high

The Independent - http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/uk-sugar-addiction-nhs-rotten-teeth-children-operations-cost-food-drink-diet-a8156151.html

LGA - https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/170-operations-day-remove-rotten-teeth-children

Sugar Smart Campaign - https://www.sugarsmartuk.org/about/

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