​London Assembly calls on the Mayor to act to tackle children's tooth decay in London

7 July 2017

In a plenary session yesterday the London Assembly debated a motion tabled by Andrew Dismore AM and Dr Onkar Sahota, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, on the issue of children's oral health in London.

Following a meeting with the BDA Mr Dismore used the debate to express his dismay at the fact that over 10,000 children in London are admitted to hospital every year to have multiple decayed teeth removed under a general anaesthetic. He also said it was a matter of great regret that London had the lowest rate of dental attendance of all the English regions, and he found it shocking that more than half of London children – nearly one million children in total – have not been seen by an NHS dentist in the past year, despite dental check-ups and treatment being free on the NHS.

In his speech he quoted recent BDA research which showed that over 70% of parents are not aware they would not be charged for dental treatment for children on the NHS.

Mr Dismore outlined the profound impact poor oral health can have on children's confidence and development, and set out the calls for action included in the motion. These included asking the Mayor to raise awareness of the importance of dental check-ups and the fact that they are free for under 18s, suggesting he includes oral health measures in the Mayor's London Health Inequalities Strategy and that he lobbies the national government to legislate to reduce sugar consumption in children.

The motion was voted through unanimously, and now awaits a response from the Mayor.