A LACK of NHS dentists in Bradford South has been raised by the constituency's MP at Prime Minister's Questions.

Judith Cummins today challenged David Cameron in the House of Commons about the lack of availability of NHS dentists in her area.

The Labour MP said: "Forty six per cent of five year old children in Bradford suffer from tooth decay, compared with 28 per cent across England, and less than half the children living in Bradford districts have seen a dentist in the last two years.

"Given the costs of treating tooth decay far exceed the costs of prevention, would the Prime Minister look at the lack of availability of NHS dentists, in Bradford South, as a matter of urgency."

Ms Cummins said poor oral health can affect children and young people's ability to sleep, eat, speak, play and socialise with other children. Other impacts, she said, include pain, infections, poor diet, and impaired nutrition and growth.

Nationally tooth decay was the most common cause of hospital admissions among five to nine-year-olds, with almost 900 children requiring hospital treatment for tooth decay every week, she said.

In response to her question, Mr Cameron said there had been a "big increase" in NHS dentistry and reminded Labour opponents about "huge queues around the block" for an NHS dentist when Labour was in government.

"Before 2010, we had huge queues around the block when a new NHS dentist turned up because there weren't enough of them."

Mr Cameron, hitting back to Labour disapproval of his comments, said: "They may shake their heads but that is what happened - some of us can remember that."

The Prime Minister told Ms Cummins he would look into the situation in Bradford.

"We have seen a big increase in NHS dentistry but I will look very carefully at the situation in Bradford."

Speaking after PMQ, Ms Cummins said: "I'm determined to get a better deal for my constituents in Bradford South. The Government can and must do more to tackle the shortage of NHS dentists in our area and do more to support overall dental health.

"Despite massive cuts to its public health funding, Bradford Council is doing its part to tackle dental health inequalities, commissioning a series of oral health improvement programmes focused on young children’s oral health called Building Brighter Smiles (BBS), but it does not have control over the availability of NHS dentists."