One third of children under five have tooth decay in Doncaster

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Children’s tooth decay is a significant issue in Doncaster, despite access to NHS dentists being above the national average.

One third of children aged five and under in Doncaster had tooth decay in 2022, with each having four decayed teeth on average.

Three per cent of these children had severe tooth decay, leading to issues such as severe pain.

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The number of children requiring tooth extraction at the hospital is among the highest across the country, costing the NHS around £50 million.

One third of children under five have tooth decay.One third of children under five have tooth decay.
One third of children under five have tooth decay.

Figures are high despite the number of people accessing NHS dentist services being above the national average.

Nationally, 41 per cent of adults in the past two years and 53 percent of children in the past year accessed NHS dental services.

In Doncaster, 63 per cent of adults and 60 per cent of children accessed these services.

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Locally, the figure marks a return to the levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the pandemic, dental practices shut for several months and then restricted services, leading to a backlog of services which remains in place.

Local NHS services have devised plans to reduce tooth decay in Doncaster through prevention techniques.

Many primary schools have begun ‘supervised toothbrushing club’, in which children brush their teeth at school with provided supplies.

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This aims to ensure all children brush their teeth if they may not have done so at home.

Education programmes for parents are also taking place on topics such as nutrition, transition from the use of pacifiers and smoking prevention.

The Department for Health and Social Care is also set to decide whether to flouridate water in South Yorkshire, which helps to prevent tooth decay.

Main issues in dental services in Doncaster include long waiting lists for dental care, unequal access to services and a reduction in the workforce creating greater pressures.

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Doncaster Council’s Health and Wellbeing board has recommended for research to take place on the exact number of people in the borough who are unable to see a dentist.

The issue will be revisited in March once NHS South Yorkshire and Healthwatch Doncaster have gained data, to discuss the next steps.

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