LDCs urged to back Dental Check by One

LDCs urged to back Dental Check by One

The essential role of GDPs in making Dental Check by One a reality. Networks of healthcare working together in areas of high need are the future if poor oral health in children is to be tackled, said Claire Stevens, Vice-President and media spokesperson for the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD), speaking at the Annual Conference of Local Dental Committees in Birmingham on June 8th.

Claire stressed that general dental practitioners need to be at the heart of those networks which should have a focus on getting all children in England to have a Dental Check by the age of One. These were the key messages of a presentation entitled Building a Future Practice in which she explained why the role of GDPs is critical and how a family - focused ethos can work well for all.

Claire outlined positive developments in Manchester, where she works as a Consultant in Paediatric Dentistry, and where, she says, dentists have taken a visionary approach to try to improve access and reduce the caries levels in very young children. Last year, Claire told the conference, BSPD organised a stakeholders meeting and everyone involved in the high profile event committed to working towards Dental Check by One. She said she believed the campaign would soon be entrenched and the tide would turn on children’s oral health.

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Faculty of Dental Surgery

Also on Jun 8, the Faculty of Dental Surgery at The Royal College of Surgeons published new analysis by has found that approximately 80% of children between the age of one and two didn’t visit an NHS dentist in the 12 months leading up to March 31st 2017, despite guidance saying children should start dental check-ups when they develop their first tooth. The analysis also found that almost 60% of children aged one to four didn’t have a dental check-up in the same period.

The FDS is warning that there is a widespread misunderstanding among parents, and even health professionals, about when a baby should visit the dentist. NHS dental check-ups for children are free. Official Public Health England guidance states that parents and carers should ensure their child has a dental check-up as soon as their teeth start to appear. Babies tend to get their first teeth at around 6 months. During 2015/16, there were 9,220 cases of tooth extractions performed in hospitals on children aged one to four

Professor Nigel Hunt, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at The Royal College of Surgeons, said: “In a nation which offers free dental care for under 18s, there should be no excuse for these statistics. Yet we know from parents we speak to that there is widespread confusion, even in advice given to them by NHS staff, about when a child should first visit the dentist. Every child should have free and easy access to dental care from the point when their first teeth appear in the mouth. With 9,220 cases of tooth extraction performed in hospitals last year for children aged between one and four, we cannot continue in this state of confusion.

 

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