Children under the age of 10 are now twice as likely to be hospitalised with tooth decay than with a broken arm.
While arm fractures are one of the more common ailments for youngsters, hospitals are treating twice as many children with rotten teeth, according to data shared with the Press Association.
Figures from the Faculty of Dental Surgery show that between April 2016 and March 2017, 34,205 children under the age of 10 required treatment in a hospital in England for tooth decay. In contrast, there were only 17,043 cases of arm fractures, NHS Digital data showed.
Children with tooth decay can require treatment in hospital if they need general anaesthetic to have teeth removed, or if the decay has caused other issues which require more complex surgery.
Professor Michael Escudier, dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, said, ‘No-one wants to see their child in hospital.
Professor Michael Escudier, dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, said: “No-one wants to see their child in hospital.
‘Sometimes this can be unavoidable, but when it comes to admissions caused by tooth decay, most cases are a result of simple preventative steps not being taken.
‘Tens of thousands of children every year are having to go through the distressing experience of having teeth removed under general anaesthetic. Reducing sugar consumption, regularly brushing teeth with fluoride toothpaste and routine dental visits will all help ensure this is avoided.
‘The problem is compounded by the fact that many children are simply not going to the dentist, with parents often unaware that NHS dental treatment is free for all under-18s.’