Plans to tackle an “oral health crisis” among Manx children should be made a priority, a Tynwald committee has said.
Tooth decay has been described as the “number one cause” of hospital admissions in those aged under 11 by the island’s public health officials.
Effort to implement a government plan published in 2021 to tackle the issue had been too slow, the committee said.
Manx Care and the Department of Health and Social Care have been approached for a comment.
The Social Affairs Policy Review committee’s investigation heard there were more than 2,000 NHS patients waiting to be registered at one of the island’s 12 dental practices, of which about 780 were children.
Hospital admission figures among Manx children for tooth extractions were “remarkably high”, the committee said, adding decay was a “preventable” disease.
It also noted how progress to combat the problem had also been impacted by a lack of dentists.
Access to dentists
The committee has made a series of recommendations to improve the oral health of children aged 0-11 in its report which will be put before Tynwald later this year.
These include calls to add delivery dates to the Manx government’s existing 2021-2026 Oral Health Strategy for Children and for a new public health campaign to be launched.
Manx Care should improve access to NHS dentists for children, while reviewing early registration, the committee said.
It has also called for a supervised tooth-brushing programme to be made compulsory in the island’s pre-schools, and in reception and year one classes by the next school year, while fluoride varnishing should be offered twice a year.
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