North East children visiting the dentist more often new figures show

The North of England has recorded an increase in the number of children who have seen an NHS dentist since 2006

Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
More children in the North East are visiting a dentist than before

More children in the North are visiting a dentist than before, according to new figures.

Statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) have revealed that a rising number of child patients are getting NHS dental care in the North of England compared to eight years ago.

In the two years leading up to June this year, a total of 2,362,001 children got their teeth seen to in the north, compared to 2,289,112 in 2006 - a rise of almost 3.2%.

Dr Ken Harris, from North East-based Riveredge Cosmetic Dentistry, said: “It is great to see more young people attending a dentist in the North. It means that youngsters will see the long-term benefits to their teeth that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

“I think one reason as to why the north has seen an increase in children visiting a dentist is that there is more stability in the region and it is not unusual for two and three generations of one family to see the same dentist for many years.”

In the region, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS area team had 279,559 child visits to a dentist in the two years until June this year, while in the Durham, Darlington and Tees it was 178,008.

Almost 44,000 child dental visits were recorded in Sunderland, closely followed by Northumberland at just under 42,000, North Durham at 30,851 and Gateshead had 29,372.

Nationally, a rising number of adult and child patients see an NHS dentist, but only the North of England has recorded an increase in the percentage of the child population seen compared to eight years ago.

Just over 29.9m adult and child patients in England saw an NHS dentist in the 24 months up to June 2014, according to the HSCIC.

This is 6.3% more than in the 24 months to March 2006, when this reporting series began, and equates to 55.9% of the population being seen in the 24 months to June 2014.

However, while the total number and percentage of adults seen by June 2014 is higher than in 2006, the percentage of the child population seen has fallen by almost one percentage point.

HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning said: “The report shows one impact of a growing population on NHS dentistry. While more and more people are taking a turn in the dentist’s chair, the proportion of the population seen is increasing slightly for adults but dipping slightly for children compared to eight years ago.

“Both the national and regional picture will be of interest to the public but also provides a basis for further exploration for health professionals.

“The report also highlights dental workforce statistics, which show an 18 per cent rise in the number of dentists performing NHS activity since 2006/07, will help to build a fuller picture of the state of NHS dentistry in England.”


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