MPs in Bradford last night called for more to be done to provide NHS dental care in the district.

Last year, a damning report by Healthwatch Bradford and District revealed some people had resorted to ‘DIY dentistry’ or ended up in A&E because they could not access a dentist.

Speaking in a House of Commons debate this week on children’s oral health, Bradford South MP Judith Cummins said oral and dental health has been the “Cinderella service” of the NHS, often overshadowed by “understandable” concerns about other areas.

She highlighted a Freedom of Information request submitted to the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which revealed that from April to December 2016, 190 children were admitted to the hospital to undergo multiple tooth extractions.

“NHS treatment is so important,” she said. “For our children and young people, it can be life-defining. It can be a springboard to a life marked by enduring oral health and wellbeing. It can be the bedrock of successful, healthy and prosperous lives through childhood and into old age.

“The unnecessary financial cost of our children’s poor oral health to the NHS is staggering.”

Mrs Cummins accused the Government of wasting £50 million a year on tooth extractions for children and young people and said that last year alone, almost 40,000 children were admitted to hospital for multiple tooth extractions.

She said inaction “is not an option”.

In the debate, Mrs Cummins called for the Government to release the official findings of an NHS access pilot in Bradford, designed to improve the availability of NHS dentists.

Seventeen practices in Bradford took part in the initiative, which ran between January and June, and made more appointments available for new patients. While NHS England said a copy of the findings had been emailed to Mrs Cummins’ office ahead of a meeting next week, her representative said it had not been received by last night.

A spokesperson from NHS England in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Following the publication of the West Yorkshire Oral Health Needs Assessment in 2015, a pilot scheme to alleviate pressure on urgent dental services and improve access to general dentistry operated in Bradford and North Kirklees from January to June this year. Over 5,300 new patients were seen in general dental practices over the duration of the pilot, and offered full courses of treatment.

“NHS England Yorkshire and the Humber is currently completing a large piece of work to help understand access to NHS dental services in Yorkshire and Humber, with a view to addressing inequalities in access and improving the oral health of people locally.

"A review of data, including the findings of this pilot, is being used to inform this work.”

Other MPs have also spoken out.

Imran Hussain, (Lab, Bradford East) said: “Bradford is one of the worst off areas for tooth decay across both Yorkshire and the UK as a whole, so it is clear that while there is no quick fix solution, changes to NHS dental contracts to better reward dentists for improving oral health and preventing tooth decay, and improving access to dental care, would go a long way towards improving the situation.

“Current dental care contracts have been in place for over a decade and are based on the oral health needs assessment at that time, but they have been rendered obsolete by changing needs.”

He said MPs were still waiting for an initial report into new contract pilots, which were meant to be published in the spring and said: “... they need to stop keeping MPs, dentists and those struggling with poor dental health in the dark over the rollout of changes.”

While Naz Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West, said: “I am extremely concerned about the state of dentistry in Bradford.

“I have engaged with local dentists and have met with the commissioners around the issues of access, quality of care and commissioning of dental services, and will continue to push them for improvement.”

John Grogan, the Labour MP for Keighley, spoke in the same debate, highlighting that in many areas of the country, including his constituency, there is “no advertising at all of dentists who are available to take on new children as patients”.

He asked: “Might one answer to the age-old problem of poorer areas having fewer dentists be an expansion of salaried dentists in the NHS?”

Shipley’s Conservative MP Philip Davies said he has raised concerns about access to NHS dental treatment for his constituents.

“The Minister did acknowledge that West Yorkshire is an area where there is an issue,” he said.

“We need more NHS dentists. That’s basically the long and short of it. This is not a new problem.”

While he called for more NHS dentists, he said it was “often easier said than done”.

Their concern comes amid a new report which has revealed twice as many children now go to hospital to have rotten teeth removed than need care for a broken arm.

Data shared with the Press Association by the Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) at The Royal College of Surgeons found that between April 2016 and March 2017, there were 34,205 cases of children under the age of ten needing treatment in hospital in England as a result of tooth decay.

This compares with 17,043 cases for arm fractures, according to the analysis of NHS Digital data.

Despite the fact that tooth decay is preventable in 90 per cent of cases, it is the most common reason that children aged between five and nine need treatment in hospital, the FDS said.

In 2015-16, there were 25,875 cases of children in this age group needing hospital care for tooth decay. This rose to 25,923 in 2016-17.

The British Dental Association said the figures were “shocking”.

The Department of Health said improving oral health in children was a “priority” for the Government.