59,000 Cambridgeshire children didn't visit dentist last year
Experts say it's contributing to the most common reason under-18s need to go to hospital.
Almost 60,000 Cambridgeshire children did not visit a dentist last year, and figures show that this is contributing to a nationwide childhood tooth decay issue.
Figures from NHS Digital show that only 56 per cent of youngsters, 75,274 in total, had an annual check-up.
The British Dental Association has said that this is a reason why the most common reason for under-18s to visit hospital in England is for multiple rotten tooth extractions, where decay is so advanced that dentists are unable to treat it at their surgeries.
In Cambridgeshire, 59,069 children did not visit the dentist at least once in 2017.
BDA chairman Mick Armstrong said: “These stubbornly low attendance figures offer real cause for concern.
“There is no room for complacency when tooth decay remains the number one reason for child hospital admissions.
“Getting kids brushing and seeing a dentist shouldn’t be optional extras. Sadly, parents are being left without guidance, while politicians seem content keeping costs down and patients away.
“In Wales and Scotland we’re seeing record breaking improvements in decay, backed up by public information and outreach in schools and nurseries. England needs more than token efforts.”
In Cambridgeshire the number of children going to the dentist has gone up slightly. In 2017, figures reveal 1,987 more youngsters had an annual dental check up than in 2016.
But the figures show adults are not setting a good example for children – just 45.6 per cent of adults in Cambridgeshire visited the dentist once in the last 24 months.
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “We are determined to reduce the number of children having teeth extracted because of tooth decay, that’s why we’re introducing a sugar tax on soft drinks with the most added sugar, which comes into effect next month.