More than 200 children were admitted to hospital to have teeth taken out in Sussex last year.

Of the 215 extractions in the year to March 2023, 110 were due to tooth decay.

David Fothergill, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: "These stark figures reveal that a lack of access to affordable dentistry is having a worrying impact on the state of children’s teeth.

"The fact that, due to the severity of the decay, on average 119 operations nationally are taking place each day to remove decaying teeth in children and teenagers is concerning and also adds to current pressures on our health service.

"Untreated dental care remains one of the most prevalent diseases affecting children and young people’s ability to speak, eat, play and socialise."

Separately, figures from the government's annual oral health survey of Year 6 children showed 16.2 per cent had experienced tooth decay, with those affected experiencing decay in at least two teeth on average.

In Brighton and Hove, about 5.7 per cent of Year 6 children had experienced tooth decay.

Eddie Crouch, chairman of the British Dental Association, said ministers have "failed to grasp that decay and deprivation go hand in hand".

He said: "This government likes to talk about prevention but has offered nothing. It has promised access for all but looks set to just throw money at target seats in rural England.

"Our youngest patients are continuing to pay the price."

Dr Helen Stewart, officer for health improvement at the The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said the state of children’s oral health in England is "nothing short of egregious".

She said the link between deprivation and decay is "undeniable", as children living in lower-income areas were more than twice as likely to have tooth decay than their more affluent peers.

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A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: "Access to dentistry is improving and last year around 800,000 more children saw an NHS dentist."

He said £3 billion is invested each year to deliver NHS dentistry and plans have been announced to increase dental training places by 40 per cent.

"We are also taking preventative measures, such as expanding water fluoridation schemes to reduce the number of children experiencing tooth decay," they said.