Government should do more to promote free NHS child dental care
The government should be doing more to promote free dental services for children, the British Dental Association has said.
Only 74% of parents are even aware that NHS dental check-ups are free for children, according to a recent survey on YouGov. Furthermore, less than 70% knew that fillings were also free for children and teenagers under 18, and only 54% knew that orthodontic treatment is available to children without charge.
Of the parents polled, over 40% admitted that they had delayed seeing a dentist due to fears about the cost, and young parents were the least aware of NHS dental charges.
The British Dental Association has spoken out to urge the government to do more in the light of the survey findings. They wish to raise awareness in parents of the fact that dental care is free on the NHS for their children. A reported 5 million children throughout the country are not seeing a dentist regularly, with many parents avoiding dentists for fear of costs, commented the association’s chair of general dental practice, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen. Most often, parents worry that they will have to pay for any necessary treatments if they take their children to the dentist and therefore avoid it. Therefore, the government should make clear to parents exactly what their children are entitled to free on the NHS and how they can receive this dental care in their area.
The BDA is also calling for ministers to better promote free care on the NHS in order to encourage parents to take their children for more regular check-ups. This comes in the wake of worrying reports showing that the number of extractions carried out on children is rising each year.