Soaring numbers of children forced to have teeth taken out in hospital

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The number of children having teeth removed in hospital has risen almost a fifth in six years, new figures show.Dentists said it was a “scandal” that so many teeth were being left to rot, amid a diet of too much sugar and too little toothbrushing.The NHS figures show more than 45,000 hospital operations to remove teeth from teenagers and children in 2017/18 – a rise of 18 per cent since 2012/2013.The severity of the tooth decay means that the treatment has to be undertaken in a hospital under general anaesthetic, rather than a dentist.They included 75 cases in which children had to have every single tooth removed – a 40 per cdnt rise over the period.The Local Government Association (LGA)  urged ministers to introduce measures to cut sugar consumption – including labels showing how many teaspoon labelling on food packaging.Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said: “These figures, which have risen sharply, highlight the damage that excessive sugar intake is doing to young people’s teeth.”The fact that, due to the severity of the decay, 180 operations a day to remove multiple teeth in children and teenagers have to be done in a hospital is concerning and also adds to current pressures on the NHS.”This trend shows there is a vital need to introduce measures to curb our sugar addiction which is causing children’s teeth to rot.”There must be a reinvestment in innovative oral health education so that parents and children understand the impact of sugar on teeth and the importance of a good oral hygiene regime.Mick Armstrong, chairman of the British Dental Association said: “The Government says prevention not cure is the mantra, but still treats dentistry as an optional extra.”Tooth decay remains the number one reason for hospital admissions among young children, but ministers have not put a penny of new investment into early years prevention.”In the NHS’s 70th year ministers need to offer more than unfunded gimmicks. We require a dedicated and properly resourced national effort to end the scandal of childhood decay.” read more