A recent study has found that thousands of parents are taking their children to pharmacists and other non-dental health services, instead of the dentist for teeth and oral pain, which could be costing NHS England £2.3 million a year.
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The study, which was carried out by the Queen Mary’s University of London, researched more than half of London’s pharmacies and
- nearly 7,000 parents seeking painkillers for children aged 0-19 (during a 10 week period)
- 2 in 3 parents were seeking pain medication related to oral pain
- Only 30% had tried taking their child to a dentist first
- 40% of those children had toothache
- Whilst 20% had pain from a newly erupting tooth
- 15% had a mouth ulcer.
The trend to visit non-dentist health services was particularly more so on weekends, when dentists are likely to be closed. Researchers said children’s teeth were put at risk by parents taking them to the wrong place to seek medical advice or relief of symptoms for their oral problems, when the cause of the tooth or oral pain requires investigation from a dental specialist.
Lead researcher, Dr Vanessa Muirhead, said: “Children with oral pain need to see a dentist for a definitive diagnosis and to treat any tooth decay. These children had not only failed to see a dentist before their pharmacy visit; they had seen GPs and a range of other health professionals outside dentistry.”
Brush-Baby promotes the important of looking after a child’s oral welfare from the day they are born and advocate looking after gums and teeth as early as possible. A good dental hygiene routine and regular visits to the dentist are vital in preventing oral health problems in the future. Look after them now and they will look after you!