40% of children in the UK are not regularly going to the dentist
Shocking figures from the NHS show that at least 40% of children in the UK failed to see a dentist last year. This can be very damaging to a child’s health and well-being, leaving many children with preventable dental health problems. The British Dental Association have stressed the importance of regular dentist trips to prevent tooth decay, especially for young children. Tooth decay remains the most common reason that young children need to go to hospital.
National guidelines recommend that children see a dentist at least once a year; however a number of parents are failing to ensure this happens. The statistics from NHS Digital show that 6.7m children went for a free dental check-up in the year to June – equivalent to 57.9% of all under-18s in England.
Figures show that children who live in the north of England was highest, with 62% of children regularly visiting the dentist; however only 48% of children in London were having the same experience.
These statistics may be due to a lack of parental knowledge, with parents unclear on the importance of caring for their child’s dental hygiene at an early age. Some parents may be financially restricted and unable to afford the travel to a dentist or may find it difficult to find the time to meet appointments. It is important that Early Years professionals stress the importance of good dental hygiene for children and support parents in making regular dentist appointments to avoid future health problems.
Regular health check ups are vital for children, not only dentist visits but also keeping up to date with vital immunisations, eye and hearing tests. Children who are healthy stand a much better chance of meeting their outcomes and developing well.