Almost a quarter of children in Norfolk and Waveney are suffering from tooth decay, stark figures have shown.

A survey carried out by health bosses in the region's schools found that nearly one in every four five-year-olds had some form of decay in their teeth.

The figure makes the region the worst in the east of England for the condition and highlights the crisis in local dental care, where no practice is accepting new patients.

In total, 23.8pc of the youngsters surveyed across the region had decay in at least one of their teeth.

The statistics also showed that in Great Yarmouth this figure is considerably higher, with just under a third of children suffering.

Meanwhile, King's Lynn and West Norfolk was the area where decay was present in the largest number of teeth - with youngsters having an average of four decaying teeth.

The figures,  shared with the region's primary care commissioning committee, have been described as "very concerning indeed".

Eastern Daily Press: Breckland district councillor, Bill Borrett, at the site of the proposed development of ten thousand homes. Photo: Bill Borrett

Bill Borrett, who represents Norfolk County Council on the committee, said: "We are an outlier and it is very concerning indeed, particularly for Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn.

"This is an area of great concern."

Sally Weston-Price, a dental consultant at NHS England, who presented the figures, said: "It is always concerning when you see figures of children with decay."

It comes with people increasingly struggling to find a dentist in Norfolk and Waveney - with queues recently snaking down the street in King's Lynn when one practice opened NHS slots.

Sadie Parker, director of primary care at NHS Norfolk and Waveney, said that a short-term plan to address the region's dental struggles would be published in September.

She said: "We know that no practices are accepting new NHS patients at the moment but we are working very closely with schools and public health on awareness [of oral hygiene'."