SOME Bradfordians have been forced to pull out their own rotten teeth because of a lack of NHS dentists locally, a health watchdog’s damning new report reveals.

People are resorting to ‘DIY dentistry’ or ending up in A&E because they cannot find a dentist, the study by Healthwatch Bradford and District reveals.

Bradford South MP Judith Cummins, who is campaigning for better access to NHS dentistry, described the report as a “harrowing read”.

Almost half of adults and around one in three children are not registered with an NHS dentist, with many people saying they have tried and failed to find a practice which will take them.

Ten per cent of people without routine dental care said they had gone to A&E because of tooth pain.

One unnamed man from the BD4 area is quoted in the report, saying he waited eight years for a dentist.

He said: “I’ve ended up extracting one of my own wisdom teeth, which in this day and age is ludicrous. Dentistry has in effect privatised itself.”

The report, by Healthwatch manager Victoria Simmons, says at the time of writing, there were no practices taking on NHS patients in Bradford and only two in West Yorkshire.

Her report says Healthwatch has “major concerns” about the issue, with more people contacting them about dentistry than any other topic.

She suggests if people with healthy teeth were given check-ups less often, this would allow dentists to register more patients.

She says: “Many patients who have an NHS dentist are recalled for a check-up every six months, although NICE guidance states that adults who have healthy teeth only need to see a dentist every two years.”

She will present her report to the district’s health scrutiny committee on Thursday.

Mrs Cummins, a Labour MP, said: “This Heathwatch report about the desperate state of dentistry across the Bradford district is a harrowing read - terrible reports of trips to A&E, and self-extractions.

“As I and every resident knows, there is a crisis in our city, with too few dentists and too few appointments for our growing population.

“Earlier this year, I asked the then-Prime Minister David Cameron what he was going to do to tackle this crisis. In response, some additional funding was made available but not enough to meet the needs of our city’s residents.

“I will continue to press this Tory Government to get a grip, understand the gravity of the situation, and adequately fund the city’s buckling NHS dental services.”

But NHS England has responded to the new claims by saying that access to the service is higher in Bradford than across England.

Kathryn Hilliam, head of primary care co-commissioning, said: “Our latest quarterly reporting figures have shown that 298,028 new patients were able to access NHS dental services in the West Yorkshire area, an increase of 3,127 patients compared to the same time period last year.

“Overall, the level of access to dental care in Bradford is higher than that across England but we recognise that there are areas in the city where access is more of a challenge.

“NHS England will continue to review how funds generated through under-delivered contracts are used, giving consideration to priority areas.”