A DENTIST in Wallasey has said "preserving teeth are important" as figures show tooth extractions in Wirral children have more than doubled since pre-pandemic.

Data from the Government’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities shows a significant increase in hospitals removing under-19-year-olds' decaying teeth across England following the coronavirus pandemic.

The OHID figures show around 195 children aged 19 or younger in Wirral had at least one tooth removed in hospital due to decay in the 12 months to March 2022 – up from around 60 the year before and 55 in 2019-20, before the pandemic.

It meant around 272 in every 100,000 children underwent a tooth extraction for decay last year.

A total of 290 extractions were undertaken in the area, meaning decay accounted for 67% of all procedures.

'The rates for extractions for children in our area are alarming'

Thomas Liu, Dentist and Partner at Wallasey Village Dental Practice said that these concerning figures could be due to cost-of-living and struggles to prioritise healthy choices.

He told the Globe: "The rates for extractions for children in our area are alarming. They are well above the average of our country.

"In Wallasey, we have a booming population of families, with several large schools at our doorstep and sadly we see many children who suffer with decay.

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"I believe this increase is due to a number of factors; we could blame it on habits attributed during the lockdowns such as “lockdown diets” or a fall in our daily toothbrushing habits.

"However, these statistics gathered more than a year after the last lockdown could highlight a different problem: the increase is greater than our immediate post-lockdown year and I can only speculate that with the cost-of-living crisis families are having to make more difficult choices.

"I have spoken to a few volunteers at the food banks who have told me that their demand has shot up in the recent two years. This could mean that families are pressed on essentials and ultimately may find it difficult to prioritise healthy options."

Tooth decay is the most common reason for hospital admission in children aged six to 10, while the data also showed children living in the most deprived communities are around 3.5 times more likely to have teeth out due to decay than those in the most affluent areas.

Thomas offered a helpful list of advice he encourages all families to follow:

  • Replace sugary drinks outside of breakfast/lunch/dinner. Not all people know that all-natural juices, “no added sugar”cordial, or fizzy “zero” drinks can be just as harmful and cause decay.
  • Outside of mealtimes only drink milk or water.
  • Limit access to snack foods. These are often packed full of sugar and do not allow mouths to rest between meals. If children cannot just help themselves to treats themselves they wont develop the habit.
  • To brush twice a day. Brushing last thing at night is the most important.
  • Please, please and please do not rinse after brushing! Just spit out, wipe your face and have a nice day.

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