October 29, 2018
by ITV News
Children found to have severe dental decay should be referred to local safeguarding teams as it may be an indicator of wider neglect, dentistry experts have said.
Researchers at London’s King’s College Hospital said two out of five (40%) children who needed oral and maxillofacial surgery due to dental decay over a two-year period were already known to social services.
Their findings have led to the introduction of a new care pathway for children admitted to the hospital’s A&E unit with dental/oral and maxillofacial infections, which will see them risk assessed for neglect and referred to the safeguarding team accordingly.
The study authors said they also want to see their review, which is published in the British Dental Journal, rolled out across the NHS.
Dental neglect is defined as the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic oral health needs, which is likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s oral, general health or development.
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