Saffron Lane Dental Practice in Leicester is offering free dental check-ups for children.

The practice is offering weekend services throughout the year to support local residents, with a special emphasis on children’s dental care.

According to the Dental Wellness Trust, half of all children in England do not have access to an NHS dentist.

Regular access to a dentist is crucial for children to ensure early detection and prevention of dental disease. It also helps promote good oral health, preventing pain and discomfort and establishing lifelong habits for overall wellbeing.

Neel Somani, principal dentist at Saffron Lane Dental Practice, said, “We want to boost oral health in our community. It’s for any child who needs to come. We don’t want them to lose out on any school time.

“Leicester and Nottingham have some of the poorest levels of dental health in the country for children. We see children as a highly vulnerable group as they can’t do anything for themselves.

“So, if we make it possible for parents to bring them in as easily as possible, it gives them a little more hope.”

Data published by the NHS reveals tooth decay is the most common reason for hospital admission in children between six and 10 years old.

Children and young people living in the most deprived communities are nearly three and a half times more likely to have a tooth decay-related extraction than those living in the most affluent communities.

Karen Coates, oral health educator and registered dental nurse for the Oral Health Foundation, said, “The presence of oral health inequalities is deeply concerning and wholly unacceptable. This stark disparity underscores the urgent need for accessible dental care for these groups.

"We are deeply moved by Neel and his team's compassionate endeavours to uplift their community, enhancing the oral wellbeing of children – a heartwarming testament of what it means to give back.

“If we don’t act early and take preventative measures, we are storing up problems for later life. The consequences are real and immediate – children suffer sleepless nights due to pain, miss school days, and parents’ work is disrupted. Immediate action is not just necessary, it’s imperative.”

The Oral Health Foundation says good oral health for children requires regular dental access and a good routine at home.

The charity recommends toothbrushing with a fluoride toothpaste last thing at night and once more during the day, with supervision until at least age seven.

Other advice is to avoid rinsing with water after brushing and keep an eye on sugar intake, as sugary foods and drinks can speed up tooth decay by creating acids that attack tooth enamel and lead to cavities.