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The Hampstead charity carries out dental screenings at schools

2:52 PM August 28, 2022

A dental health survey at two North London schools found that more than a third of pupils had untreated tooth decay.

The Hampstead-based Dental Wellness Trust carried out screenings at Mora Primary School in Cricklewood and Islamia Primary School in Queen’s Park.

Of 332 children screened, 38% had active untreated cavitary caries in their primary teeth.

In children who had untreated tooth decay, an average of 3.6 teeth per child were affected.

Only 42 children had a filling on their primary teeth – only 12% of children in these schools.

Untreated tooth decay was particularly prevalent in children aged 5 to 10, with boys more likely to be affected.

Dr Linda Greenwall, founder of the Dental Wellness Trust, said: “This situation is set to get even worse following the pandemic, with dental practices forced to close and children consuming foods and drinks containing too much sugar.

“Many now suffer excruciating pain, can’t sleep at night or concentrate in school and end up missing classes – in addition to emergency dental appointments for antibiotics and extractions. Evidence shows that Delays in preventive care could lead to an increase in tooth decay, particularly when it begins in childhood, and is the strongest indicator of risk in adulthood.

“From the work we do, we know that national strategies such as oral health prevention and tooth brushing programs in schools and nurseries are one way to support this long-awaited philosophy of” prevention is better than cure” and we call on government and local authorities for more urgent funding and support.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Improving patient access to NHS dental care is a government priority and new dental contract reforms announced last month will allow practices top performers to see more patients.

“This includes making better use of the range of professionals working in the sector, such as dental therapists, hygienists and nurses, while rewarding dentists more fairly for delivering more complex care.

“The NHS commits around £3billion to dentistry every year and has made a further £50million available to help tackle Covid backlogs.”

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