Child dentist appointments increase in Sunderland

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MORE children are visiting the dentist in the North of England, according to new figures.

Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show a rise in the number of child patients having their teeth checked in the last eight years.

In the two years up to June, a total of 2,362,001 youngsters were examined, a rise of more than three per cent on the 2006 figure of 2,289,112 in 2006.

Across the Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear NHS areas, there were 279,559 visits in the two years to June, while the Durham, Darlington and Tees area saw 178,800 undergoing a check-up.

Sunderland itself clocked up almost 44,000 visits in the two years in question, with North Durham recording 30,851.

Dr Ken Harris, from Sunderland’s Riveredge Cosmetic Dentistry practice, welcomed the rise in the number of youngsters across the region taking a turn in the dentist’s chair.

Youngsters would reap the benefits of getting into the habit of having regular check-ups for the rest of their lives, he said.

“It is great to see more young people attending a dentist in the North,” he said.

“I think one reason as to why the North has seen an increase in children visiting a dentist is that there is more stability in the region and it is not unusual for two and three generations of one family to see the same dentist for many years.”

The number of people visiting the dentist has risen nationwide, with more than 29.9million adults and children visiting an NHS dentist in the two years up to June, a rise of more than six per cent on the two years to March 2006, when the current reporting period began.

The Northern region defied the national figure on child attendance, however, with the number of children visiting a dentist across the UK falling by almost one per cent during the six years in question.