Cuts to free dental care 'hospitalising our children'
Up TO 10,000 children under the age of 15 are ending up in hospital every year to have teeth removed in what dentists claim is a direct result of cuts to free dental care.
The Irish Dental Association (IDA) said the shocking revelations were an indictment of the slash and burn policy of the previous and current governments towards oral health policy.
It is feared the rate of hospitalisation is five times higher than in the UK.
Figures compiled by the dentists' group warned thousands of children are suffering chronic infections, with many of them requiring multiple extractions, under anaesthetic, and a wait of up to 12 months for treatment.
Anne Twomey, IDA president, said youngsters are being put through the trauma of hospitalisation because of cuts to standard free dental care in Ireland.
"Ninety-five per cent of these cases would have been avoidable if they had been detected and treated earlier," she said.
"The reason they weren't is because of Government cuts to family dental supports since 2010, the constant undermining of what had been a highly effective schools' screening service and the fact that too many of our young people have a poor diet containing too much sugar," she added.
The figures were released at the annual seminar in Carlow for dentists working in the Health Service Executive.