Introduction NHS dental treatment for pregnant and nursing mothers with children aged less than 1 year is free for the patient. The rationale being women during this time are more susceptible to dental disease. By providing this free service it is hoped that access rates will increase by removing barriers in inequality and therefore reducing dental disease prevalence. Aim Identify variations in the uptake of free NHS dental treatment by nursing mothers during pregnancy across different local authorities in England and investigate possible factors linked to this variation. Methodology Public Health NHS Business Services Authority (BSA) data on mothers' exemption forms was compared to a three-year average from Office for National Statistics (ONS) birth data in 2016, 2017 and 2018; the percentage uptake of free dental care for nursing mothers was derived for lower tier local authorities (LTLAs) in England. Using Local Health (Public Health England) mapping data, this was compared to markers of deprivation and other indices to illustrate poor areas of uptake. Results The proportion of mothers accessing dental care ranged from 28-61%. Correlations between access and socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds within local authorities are illustrated. Conclusion The general low uptake of free dental services among nursing mothers shows more can be done to improve access for this vulnerable group.
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