A Worrying Trend

Posted by: Charlie Burrows

There has been a significant finding in an FDS study (Faculty of Dental Surgery) that shows 57.7% of children aged between one and four did not see a dentist last year (sourced:https://www.dentistry.co.uk/2019/02/26/almost-six-10-children-didnt-see-nhs-dentist-last-year/). This is a worrying figure and one that only seems to have increased. A previous study by the FDS shows that the 12 months leading to end of June 2018, there was data which showed 41.4% of children didn’t see an NHS dentist. Obviously this figure has gone up and this data accounts for children up to the age of 17 but it’s certainly a concern as we become a nation of patients reacting instead of preventing.

The June 2018 study (sourced here: https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/news-and-events/media-centre/press-releases/dental-attendance-2018/) actually shows that 65.9% of 0-4 year olds didn’t have dental visits which is a shocking statistic considering that the formative years are important for not only creating a routine for children to maintain and brush regularly but to also understand why it’s important to look after your teeth. The aim should always be to encourage children to consider regular check-ups as normal, rather than only visiting the dentist when there is a problem. This creates a fear factor and a correlation between dentist appointments and dental problems.


Ignorance leads to Extraction

Extractions are extremely high in the UK and this is affecting children too. The most common reason for many is that problems arise due to poor dental health which can be a result of a lack of knowledge and some of these patients are those who are unable to find a dentist surgery which takes NHS patients. This can impact children as well as adults but there is a strong link which suggests that a lack of dental routine which should be instilled in children at a very young age, can create an attitude which sees many people avoiding the dentists at all costs and this carries on throughout adolescence and into adulthood. More importantly, the lack of NHS availability for some areas in the UK, means that these patients then find it all too easy to leave their dental problems unchecked for years, resulting in severe tooth decay and other oral health problems.


Basics are Best

For children, it’s best to educate them early on and encourage them at a young age to brush regularly and to supervise them to ensure they are doing it properly. The sooner they understand the importance of brushing correctly and thoroughly, the less they are likely to suffer with dental complications and the more they will positively associate with dentist visits throughout their childhood and into their later years. Tooth decay is preventable, as are many dental issues which are most common and it’s education and routine that needs to be encouraged with our children in order to stop the rise in those not visiting the dentist at all and the risk of real problems later in life.

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