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Rise in tooth decay cases in Sussex linked to areas of deprivation
Admissions to hospital for tooth decay are on the rise in Sussex.
New figures showed people from around the county had to go in for tooth extractions and other treatment 4,751 times in one year.
This was a 5% increase on the year before.
However, there were differences across Sussex, with admissions in Brighton and Hove falling from 888 between December 2010 and November 2011 to 873 a year later.
East Sussex Downs and Weald also fell from 1,293 to 1,227 but there was a rise in the Hastings and Rother area from 680 to 794.
The number of hospital treatments in West Sussex also increased, from 1,641 to 1,857.
Experts believe the rise is linked to areas of deprivation, where there are higher numbers of people, particularly children, who may have a poor diet with a high sugar content that can lead to tooth decay.
Others may also avoid going to the dentist because of concerns over the potential cost.
Regular check ups
Health bosses say they have been working to increase access to NHS dentists around the county but in some areas there are still many people who are not getting treatment.
A spokeswoman for NHS Sussex said: “There are many things that people can do to keep their teeth healthy and prevent tooth decay such as brushing their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, cutting down on sugary drinks and snacks and not smoking.
“It’s also important that we all go for regular check-ups with a dentist – dental problems are much easier to treat if they are detected early and any untreated problems could be more complicated to fix or cause lasting damage.
“We are continuing to work hard to ensure local people can easily access high quality NHS dental care.
“There are many practices throughout Sussex accepting new NHS patients.”
Anyone seeking an NHS dentist should call the NHS Dental Helpline on 0300 1000899.
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