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Dental surgeons respond to rise in decay-related tooth extractions

08 Feb 2024

Dr Charlotte Eckhardt, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:

“The latest figures are a sobering reminder of the prevalence of tooth decay, something which is largely preventable. The 17% jump in the number of episodes of decay-related tooth extractions in hospitals for 0 to 19-year-olds highlights the urgent need for improved access to NHS dentists.

“There were 31,165 episodes of tooth extractions with a primary diagnosis of tooth decay for 0 to 19-year-olds, representing 66% of all tooth extractions for this age group. Given that tooth decay is largely preventable, it is shocking that tooth decay remains the most common reason for hospital admission in children aged between five and nine.

“Children and young people should be encouraged to brush their teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste, visit the dentist, and cut down on sugary foods that can lead to decay. The data lays bare the huge inequalities in dental care and enormous cost to the NHS, with decay-related tooth extraction episode rates for children and young people living in the most deprived communities nearly three and a half times that of those living in the most affluent communities.

“The Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) supports the expansion of targeted fluoridation to low socioeconomic areas and the introduction of supervised tooth brushing.”


Notes to Editors:

  • Hospital tooth extractions in 0 to 19-year-olds: Official statistics
  • The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England is an independent professional body committed to helping the entire dental team achieve and maintain excellence in practice and patient care. It provides world-class courses, and its qualifications are internationally recognised, including its new Membership of The Faculty of Dental Surgery (MFDS) examination.
  • The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS England) provides world-class education, assessment, and development to 30,000 surgeons, dental professionals, and wider surgical and dental care teams at all stages of their careers. Our vision is to see excellent surgical care for everyone. We do this by setting professional standards, facilitating research, and championing the best outcomes for patients.
  • For more information, please contact the Press Office: Telephone: 020 7869 6053/6054/6047; Email:; Out-of-hours media enquiries: 0207 869 6056.

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