Higher than average percentage of Wigan children have rotten teeth
Young Wigan children are nearly three times as likely to need rotting teeth removed in hospital compared to the national average, shock new figures reveal.
The Royal College of Surgeons called the figures “horrifying”, while health experts are urging parents to cut down their children’s sugar intake.
Under-10s had teeth pulled in Wigan hospitals 540 times between April 2017 and March 2018. Of those, more than 90 per cent were to remove teeth rotted by preventable decay - 500 in all. That’s a rate of 1,180 extractions per 100,000 population when the English rate is 425.
RCS’s Prof Michael Escudier said: “Tens of thousands of young children are having to go through the distressing experience of having their teeth removed under general anaesthetic for a problem that is 90 per cent avoidable.”
The British Dental Association says the official numbers are likely to underestimate the problem’s true scale.
Chair Mick Armstrong said: “Children’s oral health shouldn’t be a postcode lottery, but these figures show just how wide the oral health gap between rich and poor has become.”
He said policies currently used in Wales and Scotland to tackle tooth decay “would pay for themselves”. Both countries have dedicated child oral health programmes, providing young children with free toothbrushes and offering daily supervised brushing sessions in nursery schools.
Mr Armstrong added: “The Government’s own figures show a pound spent on prevention can yield over three back in savings on treatment.”
Most children consume more than double the daily recommended sugar intake of five cubes, according to Public Health England, which can have a serious impact on oral health.