Children in the U.K. have had nearly one million teeth pulled out in a year as sugary diets and poor dental care took its toll. The number of tooth extractions carried out on children under 18-years-old has risen by 12 percent in five years, the country’s National Health Services Information Center said.

The figures support recent warnings that thousands of children are ending up in hospital because of their teeth, with many requiring a general anesthetic.

The latest data — the first to compare clinical activity before and after the British government’s recent overhaul of NHS dentistry — also showed that there were two million extractions carried out on adults in 2008 and 2009.

Bad diets, poor brushing and shortfalls in dental care have all been blamed for the sharp rise in tooth extractions. The figures raise questions about the government’s efforts to improve access to preventive dental care, including regular check-ups and fluoride treatments.

Studies in recent years have linked poor oral health to overall health problems, including an increased risk for heart disease.

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