A most interesting accusation

Britain’s tooth decay epidemic saw around 170 youngsters have teeth extracted in hospital every day last year, with sugar blamed for creating an “oral health crisis”.

New NHS spending data shows there were 42,911 hospital procedures to remove multiple teeth from patients aged 18 and under in 2016-17 at a cost of more than £36 million.

It marks a jump of almost a fifth (17 per cent) in the number of extractions performed on young people over the past four years, up from 36,833 in 2012-13.

Hospital teeth removals take place when a patient requires general anaesthetic, which cannot be given by a dentist. The NHS has spent £165 million on such treatment since 2012, past data reveals.

Council chiefs said the spike represented a crisis in dental health, brought on by excessive sugar intake among young people.

As far as I’m aware sugar consumption isn’t up over this period of time. Nor any recent period. So, a spike in extractions cannot have been caused by a spike in sugar consumption. Therefore, if such a spike exists it must be caused by something else.

But what?

The generally shitty state of NHS dentistry? All kiddies are eligible for that, aren’t they?

21 thoughts on “A most interesting accusation”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    There was a woman who reports for the Telegraph who took up with some gang banging Urban (and needless to say extremely Vibrant) yoof. Whom she came to like a lot. She wrote a book about it.

    One thing she said is that none of them had ever brushed their teeth. She had to go to buy them toothbrushes and teach them how to use them. Blood everywhere. No one else ever had. Not their mothers. Not their pretty much entirely absent fathers.

  2. Extractions under a general anaesthetic would usually be wisdom teeth…

    Could it be a change in NHS policy regarding extraction of wisdom teeth? Could they previously only be extracted on the NHS if they were already a problem, whereas a policy change means that they’ll be extracted now if they’re at risk of causing a problem? Just making a wild-arsed guess here.

  3. Poor dental hygiene, resulting from poor parenting. Dental caries is less to do with what you eat and more to do with how well you clean your teeth afterwards

  4. There are only a few options here:

    1) More teeth are coming out overall, so more are coming out under general, or

    2) A larger proportion of the same number of extractions are under general.

    If it’s 1) Then either the parents aren’t looking after their kids’ teeth properly, or the dentists aren’t looking after their patients’ teeth properly.

    If it’s 2) Then either the parents or the dentists are deciding to send the children to hospital.

    It would be awful, and not entirely surprising if this turned out to be a “snowflake” problem. Little Jocasta would be too traumatised if this was done in the chair – off to hospital…

  5. Middle aged men, young men, old men………..what the fuck is going on with walking about in public with several teeth missing.

    or frigging black stumps on show.

  6. Back in the good old days, say the 1950s, a full set of false teeth was quite common. Bad diet 20 years before, I think.
    Fluoridation helped a lot.
    And do we know how many are taken out in total, including NHS hospitals, NHS Dentists and private?
    How many are cosmetic? My daughter had two removed to correct overlapping teeth. Nothing to do with sugar.

  7. Anecdotally, my wife had a crown fitted under heavy sedation, as she’s got a bit of a phobia. When she had trouble with it a year or so later, she couldn’t have the same sedation without going to hospital. Can’t rule out a policy change by the dentistry chain or their insurance underwriters, of course…

  8. It wasn’t unheard of for women of my mother’s generation to have most of their (rotten) teeth removed as a wedding present. My generation has been a lot more circumspect about dental hygiene. My nephews/niece are not just hygiene savvy but had significant money spent on cosmetic dental work when teenagers. If, as a millennial, you aren’t equipped with a decent set of choppers, you really are marked out as someone from the other side of the tracks.

  9. “The generally shitty state of NHS dentistry? All kiddies are eligible for that, aren’t they?”

    My experience is that dentists are fine to treat kids under the NHS. Provided you are a patient. But there’s a waiting list for NHS patients at all the dentists round our way. Unless you go private.

    So the kids get seen as NHS patients providing I pay for my teeth.

  10. “tooth decay epidemic”

    “oral health crisis”

    NHS dentistry looking for relevance.

    ‘The NHS has spent £165 million on such treatment since 2012’

    It takes a jerk to insist on picking up the tab and then complaining about the cost.

  11. @ATGNAT… Thrown out by NHS dentist.

    When I moved to London in 1979 virtually all of the dentists had closed their NHS list. Private was your only option. It wasn’t much better when I moved to the West Country in 2006. Then almost overnight the government imported a zillion or more Eastern European dentists and it wasn’t a problem anymore.

  12. Boring (and probably actually missing the point, since I imagine a lack of teeth brushing is more to do with it, but anyway) answer alert: If you think of sugar consumption in a population as a normal distribution, but only those that pass a threshold that’s currently in the far right tail require tooth extractions, then a small increase in either mean sugar consumption or in the st. dev. of sugar consumption could produce a large increase in the number of people meeting the threshold. (I think.)

  13. @abacab, January 13, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Extractions under a general anaesthetic would usually be wisdom teeth…

    Could it be a change in NHS policy regarding extraction of wisdom teeth?

    under a general anaesthetic? – usually heavy sedation, not GA, hence why it’s out-patient op.

    change in NHS policy? -Yes for all child extractions.

  14. @Bloke in Cyprus, January 13, 2018 at 9:48 am



    Good link, VGIF sums it up well; dentists not allowed to sedate children as a couple of kiddie-winkies died and MSM went OTT – coroner ruled if in hospital they’d probably have died too.

    However, knee-jerk Blair & co had already decided, plus BDA & insurers had recommended dentists stop child extractions, esp on NHS patients (let NHS have bad press, not dentists).

    btw: it’s different in Scotland; dentists may refer to an extraction specialist.

  15. The cost associated with the risk of complications and the low price paid for extractions by the NHS to dentists means that most of them just aren’t interested and instead refer them to hospital.

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