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Health Select Committee meets to discuss children’s oral health

Most dentists would agree that one of the most worrying things about their job is how many young children come into their practice with dental health issues. When patients need fillings and drilling before they are even ready to lose their milk teeth, it is a bad sign for the rest of their lives.

As such, the UK government’s Health Select Committee has convened today (February 24th) to discuss the state of oral health in the nation’s children. A number of experts in the field of paediatric dentistry will be submitting evidence in an attempt to work out the best course of action to improve the state of children’s teeth in the UK.

These experts come from several different fields of dentistry. For example, the British Orthodontic Society (BOS) will be submitting a report calling for greater equality across the country when it comes to orthodontic treatments.

The organisation recommends a waiting list for orthodontics that will allow the government to target funding to areas with a particularly great demand. Alison Murray, chair of the BOS, said: “Orthodontic treatment delivers important oral health improvements, whether it’s having teeth which are easier to clean or lower plaque scores.”

The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD) will also be present at the debate, calling for new measures to tackle inequality when it comes to children’s oral health. The organisation argues that children from deprived areas usually have higher levels of tooth decay and less access to dental care.

Professor Helen Rodd, chair of the BSPD’s Commissioning Working Group, said: “All children have a right to accessible, high-quality and evidence-based dental care. BSPD members… are unanimous in their belief that the oral health of some children in England, and the quality of care they receive, is a matter of grave concern.”
Other experts at the debate will include Stephen Fayle, consultant and honorary senior clinical lecturer in paediatric dentistry at Leeds Dental Institute, Dr Barry Cockcroft, the NHS’ chief dental officer for England, and Dr Sandra White, director of dental public health for Public Health England.

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