134,448 children not seen by an NHS dentist across North Yorkshire & Humber in the past year

21 Sep 2023

134,448 children in North Yorkshire & Humber have not been seen by an NHS dentist for at least a year, shocking new figures published by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

The research, commissioned from the House of Commons Library, estimates the number of children who weren’t seen by an NHS dentist in the year to June 2023, based on the latest data from the health service.

It also revealed the proportion of children not seen by an NHS dentist across North Yorkshire and the Humber. For the previous year, a staggering 43% of children had not been seen by a dentist.

This is despite the NHS recommending that under-18s see a dentist at least once a year because their teeth can decay faster, compared to two years for adults. Tooth decay is also the leading cause of hospital admissions for children aged 6-10.

Across North Yorkshire and the Humber, 56% of adults  have not been seen by an NHS dentist in the past two years. That equates to 725,324 thousand people who went without dental care in the last 24 months.

It comes as the Liberal Democrats are set to adopt their pre manifesto at their autumn conference this weekend, including a commitment to reform NHS dentistry so that no one is forced to pay hundreds of pounds for private care

The party is also calling for an emergency rescue plan for NHS dentistry, including spending any funding that has gone unspent in recent years to boost the number of appointments as well as the removal of VAT on children’s toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Harrogate & Knaresborough, Tom Gordon, said: 

“Every parent knows how important it is to ensure that their children can see a dentist when they need to. Leaving children in pain can disrupt their eating, sleeping and learning. 

“This Conservative government has shown a total disregard for every aspect of our health service and the people across North Yorkshire, and the country, are bearing the brunt of it. Wherever you look, the NHS is crumbling. 

“This has to act as a wake-up call for the government. 

“Earlier this year we heard that Harrogate District has the longest waiting times for children with severe dental complications, require treatment under general anaesthetic, of anywhere in England. 

"A rescue package for Harrogate & Knaresborough's dentistry is urgently needed. That means reforming NHS dentistry to boost the number of appointments along with removing VAT on children’s toothbrushes and toothpaste.”