Tooth extractions 'cause disadvantaged students to fall further behind'

Dental / Dental Practitioner News

Disadvantaged schoolchildren are seeing their educational prospects damaged further by the disruption caused by their poor oral health, a new study has shown.

The British Dental Journal paper has offered evidence that children who require a general anaesthetic to have decayed teeth removed generally miss at least five days of school and require an additional week to recover from the surgery.

“Tooth extractions are causing already disadvantaged children to miss school and fall further behind, research has shown.“

It was also indicated that school-age children from the poorest backgrounds are up to three times more likely than their better-off counterparts to be admitted to hospital for this reason, and that greater school absences can lead to poorer exam results.

This comes at a time when severe tooth decay has become the single biggest cause of hospital admission in England for the under-fives, with the poorest being five times more likely to be admitted. Moreover, treating dental disease in England costs the NHS 3.4 billion pounds a year.

Mick Armstrong, chair of the British Dental Association, said: "Dental disease is almost always preventable, and if ministers are genuinely interested in reducing the need for hospital admissions they must ensure that every community has the tools they need to make a difference."

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