CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Children’s teeth: act now, warns dentist politician

Schoolchildren offered fluoride tooth varnish

20 November, 2016 — By Alina Polianskaya

Cllr Iain Bott: ‘Children go through unnecessary suffering and that can all be prevented through healthy eating and brushing’

TOOTH decay is “the biggest cause of admissions to hospital” for children and is costing the country “billions”, a councillor has warned.

Public health chief Cllr Iain Bott said “the message is not getting home” that many of these cases could be prevented.

In Westminster, 929 children aged between nought and nine were admitted to hospital with tooth decay in the past year – by far the highest cause.

Marylebone High Street ward’s Cllr Bott said: “Children go through unnecessary suffering and that can all be prevented through healthy eating and brushing. Each general anaesthetic costs up to £2,000 a time for each child to have a tooth removed while they are asleep.”

Cllr Bott, a dentist in James Street, added: “As the leading cause of hospital admissions for children in Westminster, tooth decay is a significant public health problem that puts substantial strain on local NHS services.”

Improving outcomes for children and young people was “arguably the most important priority” for Westminster’s Health and Wellbeing Board, he said.

He felt it was more important than ever to drive the message home with every contact children and parents have with health services.

l Children at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic School in Covent Garden were offered fluoride tooth varnish this week. The scheme is offered to some schools by the NHS and involves painting teeth with fluoride to strengthen enamel and make them more resistant to decay.

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