“WE are at a crisis point.”

That’s the damning message from Bradford South MP Judith Cummins as she backs the Telegraph and Argus’s Stop the Rot campaign.

It’s an issue which Mrs Cummins has pushed with Government since she became an MP in 2015, spurred on by the state of NHS dentistry in Bradford.

And she has slammed the problems the district’s children face in terms of their dental health as “appalling”.

From tooth decay to multiple extractions to not being able to access an NHS dentist – it’s a situation Mrs Cummins is determined to tackle.

Referring to a Freedom of Information request to the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which revealed that from April to December 2016, 190 children were admitted to hospital to undergo multiple tooth extractions, she said: “It’s not just the emotional cost, it’s the financial cost to the NHS.

“A lot of these extractions are multiple extractions, so you can imagine these poor children, not able to get an NHS dentist, ending up, because the problems have been compounded, compounded and compounded, at hospital where they are having their teeth pulled out.

“That’s forever then - they’ve lost that tooth forever. It’s not about bad parenting, it’s about access to dentists and NHS dentists. People sometimes don’t know even the simplest of messages, that you can take a child an NHS dentist and get that child treated for free.”

She added: “I think we are at a crisis point in terms of dentistry and oral health for children in Bradford.

“I think it’s a scandal that we are seeing hundreds of children having their teeth extracted because they can’t get into a dentist.

“I think moving forwards, what needs to happen is Government needs to acknowledge that there is a specific problem in Bradford and invest the money that it needs into Bradford to get us out of this crisis point.”

She said that one problem lies in the historic dentistry contracts which are no longer “fit for purpose” and said a two-tier system is being created where people who cannot afford to pay for private treatment are “left to suffer”.

“I have been campaigning on this since I became an MP and I’ve met with several Ministers and all the time the Ministers have recognised that something needs to be done,” she said.

“I’ve reiterated that we are now at a point which is a crisis point in terms of oral health and dentistry in Bradford.

“Various schemes have been set up - one scheme was to reinvest the clawback of the money that wasn’t spent into dentistry in Bradford, so you would get more dental appointments available at NHS dentists for people to be able to book into those.

“Those were not advertised, yet over a six-month period there was a 92 per cent uptake.

“That, as I said to the Minister at the time, clearly demonstrates there is such a need for increased NHS provision of dentistry in Bradford.

“They do recognise there is a problem, but I think various Ministers also recognise that to address the problem there’s a need to invest some serious money into it.”

She said: “There’s all kinds of pressures in the NHS for money to be spent and I sometimes think that dentistry and oral health is seen as the Cinderella service of the NHS.”

Mrs Cummins added: “We all have a responsibility for generations going forward to try and make sure that they have a better life than we have and to take things forward.

“Certainly what I’m seeing now is that things are actually going backwards in terms of public health messages.

“It’s right across the city, it touches every social group, it touches every social class.

“It’s not rich and poor, it’s a lot of people cannot get access to an NHS dentist for themselves and their children unless they pay to go privately.”