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From Keighley News, 2nd November 2017
Written by Alistair Shand

MPs are calling for more to be done to provide NHS dental care in the district. Last year, a damning report by Keighley-based Healthwatch Bradford and District revealed that some people had resorted to ‘DIY dentistry’ or ended up in A&E because they could not access a dentist. Speaking in a Commons debate on children's oral health, Keighley Labour MP John Grogan highlighted that in many areas of the country – including his constituency – there was “no advertising at all of dentists who are available to take on new children as patients”.

He asked: “Might one answer to the age-old problem of poorer areas having fewer dentists be an expansion of salaried dentists in the NHS?”

Conservative MP Philip Davies said he had raised concerns about access to NHS dental treatment for his constituents.

His Shipley constituency includes growing villages such as Denholme and Cullingworth.

“The minister did acknowledge that West Yorkshire is an area where there is an issue,” he said.

“We need more NHS dentists. That’s basically the long and short of it. This is not a new problem.”

While he called for more NHS dentists, he said it was “often easier said than done”.

Their concerns come amid a new report which has revealed twice as many children now go to hospital to have rotten teeth removed than need care for a broken arm.

Data shared with the Press Association by the Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) at The Royal College of Surgeons found that between April 2016 and March this year, there were 34,205 cases of children under the age of ten needing treatment in hospital in England as a result of tooth decay.

This compares with 17,043 cases for arm fractures, according to the analysis of NHS Digital data.

Despite the fact that tooth decay is preventable in 90 per cent of cases, it is the most common reason that children aged between five and nine need treatment in hospital, the FDS said.

In 2015-16, there were 25,875 cases of children in this age group needing hospital care for tooth decay. This rose to 25,923 in 2016-17.

The British Dental Association said the figures were “shocking”.

The Department of Health said improving oral health in children was a “priority” for the Government.