The number of British children aged 10 and under admitted to hospital to have one or more teeth extracted has risen by ten percent in the last 3 years, with over thirty-three thousand kids admitted to hospital for emergency dental treatment in 2015, The Sun newspaper reports.
For children aged between five and nine years of age, tooth extraction is now the number one cause of admission to hospital, The Telegraph indicated in a related report.
The news comes right at the time that the British government has announced a delay in the publication of its strategy for combating childhood obesity. The publication was originally due in the fall of last year but will now not be available until summer 2016, causing health charities to react angrily, criticizing the government for its reluctance to introduce a sugar-tax.
The head of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, said that this level of neglect was inexcusable:
It is truly inexcusable in the modern day to see such staggering amount of children visiting hospital to have teeth extracted due to tooth decay, especially as it is entirely preventable.
Dr Carter blamed the rise in tooth decay among children on “constant snacking on sugary foods and drinks” and a lack of supervision or encouragement to assure that children brush their teeth regularly.
Sara Hurley, National Health Service England’s chief dental officer, emphasized that the cause of the problem is the amount of soda English youngsters are now drinking:
In England, children and young people drink more sugary soft drinks than anywhere else in Europe and we are creating significant health problems.
The Telegraph report pinpointed certain geographical areas of the UK as having particularly poor dental health, with a rotten-triangle comprising of three northern cities – Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotherham – topping the league table.