Cllr Paul Doughty is right to be concerned with the number of children referred to hospital for dental extractions (More than 170 children have teeth removed, November 19). As one who has worked in most spheres of dentistry and specialised in treating children, one or two comments are appropriate.

The most successful national preventative measure of dental decay has been fluoridation. In the last century Birmingham added one part per million of fluoride to its water and the benefits have been felt ever since. The furore by anti-fluoridationists stopped progress despite all reputable scientific evidence refuting false claims.

Practical education about care of the mouth and teeth comes from parents, teachers and dental health workers but their impact is dwarfed by commercial companies advertising ‘junk food’. Dental care needs a higher profile by governments to go alongside growing awareness of obesity in children.

Extensive carbohydrates in the form of sweets and the like coupled with lack of mouth care will cause decay and when dentists see a child in pain and with multiple decayed teeth it is obvious that a single general anaesthetic will cause less trauma than multiple local anaesthetics.

All governments have found dentistry difficult to manage financially which is why most dentists can only offer private treatment to adults. There are a legion of regulations relating to dental practice but they come at a considerable price and time.

Julian Crabb,

Retired Consultant,

Upper Poppleton, York