Alistair Burt scandalised by children’s oral hygiene

Child attends the dentist
Child attends the dentist

Alistair Burt had a lot to say at the British Dental Association Conference.

There has been an alarming increase in the number of children getting tooth extractions and the Health Minister and the BDA, aren’t happy.

The numbers of under-18s experiencing tooth extraction has soared in recent years. Around 41,000 children have had removal procedures in 2014-15, an increase of around 10,000 from previous years. £35m was spent on extracting children’s teeth according to the Local Government Association (LGA) and the British Dental Association (BDA) had it addressed recently.

Health Minister Alistair Burt
Health Minister Alistair Burt

Health Minister Alistair Burt gave the keynote address at the 2016 British Dental Association Conference in Manchester and said that the increase in young peoples tooth decay would not be tolerated. However, he was keen to specify that this was not an issue due to dentists as they have had a marked increase in oral health for under 5-year-olds.

Despite this, there is still room for improvement as pockets of deprivation where decay is a major problem are still evident. The Minister called upon the help of the dental profession in reaching out to places where problems were rife. Mr Burt also spoke of ways to improve oral health and the initiatives that are currently running. He highlighted the Change4life programme and teaching children to become ‘sugar smart’. Although, he was eager to stress, progress can only be made through working with the dental and medical professions. He praised the achievements of initiatives in Scotland and England.

The British Dental Association Conference 2013
The British Dental Association Conference 2013

During his speech he also addressed the new dental contract, included in the 62 prototype pilots set to be put in place in the NHS England reform, Alistair Burt claimed that their point was to aid a preventative approach through personal care plans and clinical pathways. Seeming confident of a good outcome, he said the intention was to roll out the new contract nationally in 2018-19.

It was clear he had a clear awareness of the issues in the dental community and the nations requirements. However, the issue of child extractions is something that needs to change, both through the aid of dentists, schools and parents working together to educate children.

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