A trip to the dentist was always something that I dreaded as a child - the nervous wait while the dentist inspected my molars was always a tense one.

I was always fortunate enough, however, to have access to a dentist for my check-ups as a child.

Now, however, people across the country are finding it impossible to get an NHS dentist when they need one – and the consequences for patients can be devastating.

For children aged between six and 10, tooth decay is the number one cause of hospital admissions, and one in ten adults say they have attempted ‘DIY dentistry’ as a result of not being able to find a dentist that will accept them.

In my constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn, nearly half of surgeries that provided a recent update are not accepting any new adult patients.

Ham & High: Tulip Siddiq says that nearly half the dentists in her constituency are not taking on new patientsTulip Siddiq says that nearly half the dentists in her constituency are not taking on new patients

This is not to do with their quality of service, or their desire to help as many as they can, but the incredibly concerning lack of care and attention that this Government has given NHS dentistry for the last 14 years.

The Nuffield Trust has said NHS dentistry is at its "most perilous point in its 75-year history".

In the past two years, more than six million adults tried and failed to get a dental appointment, and one in 10 people have paid for private dental treatment over the past year because they could not get an appointment with an NHS dentist. This is completely unacceptable and patients in my constituency are paying the price.

I believe dental care should be available to all who need it and Labour has a plan to provide long-term reform to restore NHS dentistry to what it once was.

A Labour government would provide 700,000 more urgent appointments for patients in need of procedures like fillings and root canals and we will introduce supervised toothbrushing in schools for three to five-year-olds, which we will target at the areas with the highest childhood decay.

It is time the Government gets serious about tackling the crisis facing NHS dentistry – the welfare and quality of life of millions of people across the country depends on it.

  • Tulip Siddiq is Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn.