Responding to new figures on how almost nine out of ten hospital tooth extractions among young children are due to preventable tooth decay, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“These figures serve as another warning of the damage that excessive sugar intake is doing to young people’s teeth and the vital need for new measures to combat this.
“The fact that, due to the severity of the decay, nearly nine out of ten young children need to have teeth removed in hospital is both concerning and adds to current pressures on the NHS.
“Councils, which have responsibility for public health, have long called for the Government to implement measures to reduce sugar consumption which is causing children’s teeth to rot, such as reducing the amount in soft drinks and improvements to food and drink labelling.
“While some progress on this has been made, there must also be a reinvestment in innovative oral health education so that parents and children are supported to understand the impact of sugar on teeth and the importance of good oral hygiene.
“This includes giving councils a say in deciding where the revenue from the soft drinks levy, which has raised more than £200 million since its introduction, is spent.
“If the Government is serious about tackling tooth decay early, they should use the upcoming Spending Review to reverse the £700 million real terms reductions to councils’ public health grants between 2015/16 and 2019/20. Councils rely on this grant to commission health visitors, who lead delivery of preventative programmes and are key to promoting good oral health in the early years.”