Anger over Leeds children missing out on new dental health scheme

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THE BRITISH Dental Association has criticised the government for failing to roll out a new children’s dental health scheme across Yorkshire.

The association said up to 28.5 per cent of five-year-olds in Yorkshire experience tooth decay.

A Public Health England oral health survey in 2014 and 2015 revealed 31 per cent of five-year-olds in Leeds and 37 per cent in Wakefield suffered from tooth decay

But the Government’s new Starting Well initiative, a programme to ensure children receive better dental health advice in 13 of England’s poorest areas, is restricted to just three locations in Yorkshire when tooth decay is the leading cause for children to be admitted to hospital.

The roll out of the scheme in Yorkshire is restricted to a few parts of Wakefield, Hull and Middlesbrough.

Yorkshire is the second worst region in England in terms of rates of tooth decay, and the worst in the country for the number of children’s hospital tooth extractions.

Almost 7,700 children had extractions due to decay in Yorkshire last year.

The BDA advocates a dedicated national programme for England, to ensure that every vulnerable child has the best chance of having healthy teeth.

BDA chairman Mick Armstrong, an NHS dentist in Castleford, said: “We do hope that children in chosen areas will benefit, but hundreds of thousands of kids across Yorkshire will miss out.

“Tooth decay is the number one reason for child hospital admissions, and this poverty of ambition will not fix it.

“In Scotland we have a dedicated national programme that ensures every child gets the best start in life. In Yorkshire we’re seeing action in a handful of areas without a penny of new money behind it. It’s indicative of how seriously this government takes its children’s dental health.

“NHS dentistry in Yorkshire is in crisis. We want to help more children and their families, but simply slapping a new logo onto a broken system is not going to provide the preventive care our patients desperat