Breaking News
November 21, 2018 - New research project to combat obesity, type 2 diabetes receives NIH funding
November 21, 2018 - Humans play key role in distribution and transmission of Bartonella bacteria
November 21, 2018 - First modeling system developed for testing age-specific human immune responses to vaccines
November 21, 2018 - FDA Alert: Gilenya (fingolimod): Drug Safety Communication
November 21, 2018 - Uric Acid Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
November 21, 2018 - Researchers use genetics to predict response to antipsychotic medications
November 21, 2018 - Proposal to include the price of drugs in television ads is flawed, Stanford scholar writes
November 21, 2018 - Disrupting reproduction strategy of disease-causing parasites could help fight malaria
November 20, 2018 - ACAAI: Almost 2 Percent of Children Have Milk Allergy
November 20, 2018 - Congenital anomalies of kidney and urinary tract – Genetics Home Reference
November 20, 2018 - Can video games improve the health of older adults with schizophrenia?
November 20, 2018 - Can flicking a molecular switch restore the aging immune system’s competence?
November 20, 2018 - Restek launches new Oregon cannabis pesticide standards
November 20, 2018 - Health sector coalition urges Government to safeguard patients in future UK-EU relationship
November 20, 2018 - Study evaluates second-hand marijuana smoke exposure among children
November 20, 2018 - Scientists identify three genes responsible for recurrent molar pregnancies
November 20, 2018 - Researchers identify multisystem disorder caused by bi-allelic variants in CCDC47 gene
November 20, 2018 - Dining Out With Allergies Is Tough, But These Steps Can Help
November 20, 2018 - Breastfeeding protects infants from antibiotic-resistant bacteria
November 20, 2018 - AI matched, outperformed radiologists in screening X-rays for certain diseases | News Center
November 20, 2018 - Adolescents increasingly choose marijuana over cigarettes, alcohol
November 20, 2018 - World’s first medical imaging scanner produces diagnostic scan of the whole human body
November 20, 2018 - Cytocybernetics receives NIMH award to move into neuronal drug development
November 20, 2018 - ‘Unknown’ enzyme may be key to new treatment for inflammatory diseases
November 20, 2018 - Recreational drug may help people regain trust in others
November 20, 2018 - Researchers identify gene vital for post-stroke recovery
November 20, 2018 - Scientists identify novel target for neuron regeneration, functional recovery in spinal cord injury
November 20, 2018 - Potential new therapeutic approach developed for synovial sarcoma
November 20, 2018 - Skeletal imitation reveals how bones grow atom-by-atom
November 20, 2018 - Autism behaviors show unique brain network fingerprints in infants
November 20, 2018 - Location matters for inflammation clearance
November 20, 2018 - Towards finding a druggable cancer target
November 20, 2018 - Ultragenyx Announces Intent to Submit New Drug Application to U.S. FDA for UX007 for the Treatment of Long-chain Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorders in Mid-2019
November 20, 2018 - Cooling ‘brains on fire’ to treat Parkinson’s
November 20, 2018 - Less pollution could increase the average lifespan of Copenhageners by an entire year in 2040
November 20, 2018 - Abramson Cancer Center becomes the 28th member institution of National Comprehensive Cancer Network
November 20, 2018 - The plug and play time-resolved spectrometer from PicoQuant
November 20, 2018 - Breakthrough technology offers new hope to people with glaucoma, retinitis and macular degeneration
November 20, 2018 - New report highlights key focus areas to help cancer screening realize its full potential
November 20, 2018 - International experts to discuss strategies to maintain spatial orientation in old age
November 20, 2018 - Low-protein, high-carb diet may promote healthy brain ageing
November 20, 2018 - Scientists discover new inhibitor that decreases lung inflammation
November 20, 2018 - Participation project calls for relaxing research ban on germline interventions
November 20, 2018 - Karyopharm’s Selinexor Receives Fast Track Designation from FDA for the Treatment of Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma
November 20, 2018 - Arthritis by the Numbers: Book of Trusted Facts & Figures
November 20, 2018 - Drug homing method helps rethink Parkinson’s
November 20, 2018 - AHF commends the passage of global AIDS funding in the House, calls for swift approval
November 20, 2018 - The search for new psychiatric disorder treatments
November 20, 2018 - New research offers hope for simpler way to diagnose and treat cancer
November 20, 2018 - Study sheds light on the infection mechanism of influenza virus
November 20, 2018 - Storage failures of eggs and embryos gain a new perspective
November 20, 2018 - Buyers of short-term health plans: Wise or shortsighted?
November 20, 2018 - Study indicates that frogs in virus-exposed groups breed at young age
November 20, 2018 - FDA Alerts Health Care Professionals and Patients Not To Use Sterile Drug Products from Pharm D Solutions
November 20, 2018 - Asthma may contribute to childhood obesity epidemic
November 20, 2018 - Live probiotics can change existing gut flora and alter immune response
November 20, 2018 - Researchers to explore the enigmatic role of unstructured protein in regulating circadian function
November 20, 2018 - Many patients with adenomas do not receive colonoscopy within recommended time frame
November 20, 2018 - Drug used to treat PTSD does not reduce suicidal thinking, may worsen nightmares and insomnia
November 20, 2018 - In-person social contact may offer protection against depression and PTSD symptoms
November 20, 2018 - Routine HCV testing in correctional facilities can best identify and treat disease, say researchers
November 20, 2018 - Molecular DNA analysis could facilitate more accurate prognosis, treatment of aggressive brain tumors
November 20, 2018 - Breast Cancer Recurrence Rate Not Up With Autologous Fat Transfer
November 20, 2018 - Beta 2 Microglobulin (B2M) Tumor Marker Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
November 20, 2018 - Could bariatric surgery make men more virile?
November 20, 2018 - Urine test to check if patients take their medications will save the NHS money, say researchers
November 20, 2018 - Study reveals impact of residual inflammatory risk on clinical outcomes after PCI
November 20, 2018 - RNAi therapy shown to alleviate preeclampsia
November 20, 2018 - Replacement of dysfunctional microglia has therapeutic potential for neurodegenerative diseases
November 20, 2018 - Forming 3D Neuronal Models of the Brain
November 20, 2018 - Shoulder ultrasounds could be used to predict diabetes
November 20, 2018 - SGLT2 Inhibitors for Diabetes Linked to Increased Risk for Amputation
November 20, 2018 - Stem cell transplant cements Arizona men’s father-son bond
November 20, 2018 - Scientists try to develop portable systems that can quickly produce biologics on demand
November 20, 2018 - Automating Data Capture and Image Analysis in Continuous Experiments
November 20, 2018 - New drug shows promise for treating people with peanut allergy
November 20, 2018 - Researchers develop novel mouse model to study immunomodulatory therapies
November 20, 2018 - “Britain must not go backward on antibiotic controls to appease US trade deals” – Jim Moseley, CEO of Red Tractor
November 20, 2018 - Widespread errors in ‘proofreading’ cause inherited blindness
November 20, 2018 - Reaping the benefits of living longer
Children’s use of non-dental services for oral pain could be costing the NHS £2.3 million a year

Children’s use of non-dental services for oral pain could be costing the NHS £2.3 million a year

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Thousands of children with oral pain are being taken by parents to pharmacies and non-dental health services, including A&E, instead of their dentist, and could be costing NHS England £2.3 million a year, according to research led by Queen Mary University of London.

The study of more than half of all of the pharmacies in London and nearly 7,000 parents finds that most pharmacy visits for children’s pain medications in London are to treat oral pain.

Lead researcher Dr Vanessa Muirhead from Queen Mary’s Institute of Dentistry said: “The fact that only 30 per cent of children with oral pain had seen a dentist before going to a pharmacy highlights a concerning underuse of dental services.

“Children with oral pain need to see a dentist for a definitive diagnosis and to treat any tooth decay. Not treating a decayed tooth can result in more pain, abscesses and possible damage to children’s permanent teeth.

“These children had not only failed to see a dentist before their pharmacy visit; they had seen GPs and a range of other health professionals outside dentistry. This inappropriate and overuse of multiple health services including A&E is costing the NHS a substantial amount of money at a time when reducing waste is a government priority.”

Previous research has found that the main cause of planned hospital admissions for children aged 5-9 years is to have their decayed teeth extracted under general anaesthesia. Meanwhile, a quarter of five-year-olds in England still have tooth decay in their baby teeth and approximately one in five 12-year-olds have tooth decay in their adult teeth.

Only 58 per cent of children in England and 49 per cent of children in London had visited a dentist in 2016, even though dental care is free in the UK for under 18s and national guidelines recommend dental visits at least every year for children.

In this latest study, published in BMJ Open and jointly funded by Healthy London Partnership and NHS England London Region, 951 pharmacies collected information from 6,915 parents seeking pain medications for their children in November 2016 – January 2017, and found that:

  • Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of parents seeking pain medications for their children were doing so to relieve their children’s oral pain.
  • Only 30 per cent of children with oral pain had seen a dentist before the pharmacy visit while 28 per cent had seen between one and four different health professionals (including GPs, health visitors, school nurses and A&E departments – GPs being the most common).
  • Nearly one in ten children had signs and symptoms indicating a dental emergency and community pharmacy staff signposted them to emergency services.
  • The cost to the NHS of children contacting health professionals outside dentistry over the period was £36,573 (an annual cost of £373,288). Replicating these findings across all pharmacies in England could mean that the NHS spends an estimated £2.3 million annually when children with oral pain inappropriately use multiple health services.
  • 41 per cent of the children had toothache; 20 per cent had pain from a newly erupting tooth and 15 per cent had a painful mouth ulcer.
  • Saturdays and Sundays were the peak days for parents to visit pharmacies for pain medication for children’s oral pain. This could partly explain why some parents had not seen a dentist due to limited urgent dental care services over the weekend.

Dr Muirhead added: “We need to develop integrated systems and referral processes where GPs, community pharmacists and dentists talk to each other to make sure that children with toothache see a dentist as soon as possible for treatment. We also need better training for community pharmacy staff giving parents advice and look at how dentists manage children who have toothache.”

The researchers also highlight the need to work towards preventing tooth decay from occurring in the first place. This includes rolling out Scotland’s Childsmile programme more widely, where fluoride toothpaste is distributed to all pre-school children, all nurseries have supervised toothbrushing every day and early years’ settings have healthy low sugar meals and snacks.

The study limitations include the extrapolation of cost estimations which contained several assumptions. The researchers also possibly underestimated the number of children with oral pain in London because only community pharmacies were used as a means of identifying children and parents.


Explore further:
Lack of guidance may delay a child’s first trip to the dentist

More information:
Vanessa Elaine Muirhead et al, Children’s toothache is becoming everybody’s business: where do parents go when their children have oral pain in London, England? A cross-sectional analysis, BMJ Open (2018). DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020771

Journal reference:
BMJ Open

Provided by:
Queen Mary, University of London

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles