Baby teeth begin to grow around 6 months, so the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends a trip to the dentist before your child’s first birthday.
Children in England are waiting for an alarmingly long time for NHS dental treatment, according to new data. In the last three years, the number of children waiting more than six months for dental treatment has risen by 52%.
Statistics obtained from Freedom of Information requests reveal that children are waiting for an average of two or more weeks for dental procedures. Over the past three years, there has been a 15% increase in the number of children on waiting lists who need procedures that require general anesthesia.
According to Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, “It is completely unacceptable that vulnerable children are increasingly waiting for months in agony to have their teeth fixed… Labour’s ambition is to help our children become the healthiest in the world. That means investment to improve the oral health of every child and taking radical action like banning the advertising of junk food on family TV.”
The British Dental Association (BDA) finds that children in poorer areas are hit much harder when it comes to tooth decay and the need for dental procedures. But while dental procedures to remove decaying teeth are some of the most common procedures in the area, they are also 90% preventable.
Unfortunately, many children are left in pain waiting for their time to have a procedure done. So not only do 99.7% of adult respondents to an AACD survey believe that having a healthy smile is important for their social life, but having dental problems can be extremely painful.
Local governments are doing their part to prevent dental problems in the first place. In April, a sugar tax on soft drinks was launched in hopes of encouraging healthier habits. However, the tax doesn’t affect other sugary food and drink.
But England citizens, including those of the BDA, want the government to do more for dental health. Seeing as how 80% of dental malpractice claims are related to money issues, according to CNA HealthPro, there are a lot of concerns with the dental field as a whole. Dental health providers need the right resources and time to provide the care needed.
England also doesn’t have any sort of program that is designed to encourage healthy dental habits in schools and nursery, unlike Wales and Scotland. But local organizations are taking steps to implement such programs in hopes of avoiding tooth decay issues in the first place.
Overall, children in England are not getting the dental care they need in a timely manner. But steps need to be taken to encourage healthy dental habits and to find the necessary resources to provide timely care for future generations.