New figures have been released which indicate that the main reason for primary school children being admitted to hospitals is to have several teeth removed.
According to figures which have been analysed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, the number of children between the ages of five and nine who need dental hospital treatment has increased by more than 3000.
The published research has been described as shocking by a consultant in paediatric dentistry and a dentistry professor.
The provisional figures for the 2013/14 period indicate that 25812 children in this age group have been admitted to hospital for multiple tooth extractions. This figure has increased from 22574 three years before.
The former dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, Kathryn Harley, said that they have had children who need to have all 20 of their baby teeth extracted. She said that it was unbelievable that their diets could have produced this drastic effect.
She added that many of the children who had problems need around four, sometimes eight of their teeth extracted, with ‘quite a few’ needing as many as 14 removed.
Professor Jimmy Steele from Newcastle University said that dentists watch the progress of decay in baby teeth due to the uncertainty of the effectiveness of fillings at that point. He stated that many dentists are unhappy about doing extractions, particularly in children.
The number of children between the ages of zero and four who have been admitted to hospital for tooth extractions has also increased, from 8060 during 2010/11 to a provisional number of 8758 during 2013/14.
Other findings related to childhood hospitalisation indicate that one in 20 girls aged between 15 and 19 are treated by a consultant because of self-harm. Boys were more at risk of having been injured during an assault. Similar differences were highlighted for the 10 to 14-year old age group, however the older group’s issues were more pronounced. There were also similarities for the age group up to nine.
The number of Finished Consultant Episodes for the year from July 2012 was a total of 2.5 million. This was based on figures for children up to the age of 19 and showed a tiny increase of 0.1% compared to the previous year.
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