More than 30 per cent of children in Kirklees have not seen an NHS dentist in the last year, according to new figures.
The British Dental Association said the rate of check ups for children is “national disgrace” and put it down to a lack of information to engage hard-to-reach families.
NHS data shows that 32% of children in Kirklees have not had a dental check-up in the 12 months to September 2018 , compared with the 41% average across England.
It means 32,043 children in the area have not been for their check-up over the period, despite NHS guidelines saying they should be seen at least once a year.
In that time 4,608 children received some kind of urgent dental treatment.
NHS dental care for children is free, but a poll conducted by the BDA last year revealed that one in four parents are unaware that there is no charge for routine check-ups for children.
The BDA’s chair of general dental practice, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, said that current outreach programmes were more likely to target people who already visit their dentist. He said: “Tooth decay is a preventable disease and remains the leading cause of hospital admissions for children, but instead of public information campaigns Westminster has offered radio silence.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We want every single child and adult to have access to NHS care, whatever their location – and last year a record 6.9 million children were seen by a dentist with numbers rising every year.”