UK at risk of oral health crisis, LGA warns

The Local Government Association (LGA) has released figures which reveal hospitals are spending millions of pounds on managing children’s rotting teeth, and has called on the government to improve measures to reduce the consumption of sugar.

The data shows hospitals spent £35 million on multiple teeth extraction for children in 2015. The figure is significantly higher than the £21 million which was spent in 2010-11.

The LGA highlighted that over 100 operations are taking place each day to remove the teeth of under-18s, occurring in hospitals rather than dentists due to the severity of decay. Council’s have argued that excessive consumption of fizzy drinks and high sugar food is behind the increase in tooth decay.

Official data shows youngsters in the UK consume more soft drink per year than in any other European country, with 40 per cent of 11-15-year-olds consuming sugary drinks at least once per day.

Councillor Izzi Seccombe, the LGA’s Community Wellbeing spokeswoman, said: “Our children’s teeth are rotting because they are consuming too much food and drink high in sugar far too often.

“Nearly half of 11 to 15-year-olds have a sugary drink at least once a day. As these figures show, we don’t just have a child obesity crisis, but a children’s oral health crisis too. Poor oral health can affect children and young people’s ability to sleep, eat, speak, play and socialise with others.

“Having good oral health can help children learn at school, and improve their ability to thrive and develop, not least because it will prevent school absence.”