Recently, ITV broadcast a programme called ‘The Dentists’ that showed the UK public what life was like at the University Dental Hospital of Manchester. In many ways, this was a free piece of dental marketing for many practices, giving the UK a more positive view of the dental profession. However, it raised some important issues.
Chief among these was the problem of child tooth decay. During the programme, which was viewed by an estimated 1.75 million people, two children were given a general anaesthetic so that multiple teeth could be extracted. This has highlighted the issue the UK has with the oral health of its children.
The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BPSD) has called for action following the TV programme. In a statement, the organisation highlighted the fact that tooth decay is the third most common reason for a child to be admitted to hospital for a general anaesthetic, however many dental services are cutting back on paediatric dentists.
Claire Stevens, a consultant in Paediatric Dentistry at the University Dental Hospital of Manchester and spokeswoman for the BSPD, said: “If these children had seen a paediatric dentist earlier, it might have been possible to save their teeth, instead of removing them and potentially triggering dental anxieties for life.
“In the 21st century, it’s entirely unacceptable that children in the UK are having to undergo a general anaesthetic, losing their teeth at a young age due to a disease which is entirely preventable.”
It is for this reason that cutting back on paediatric dentists is a bad idea given the current circumstances. Oral healthcare professionals are needed not only to treat tooth decay and other issues, but also to enact a change in the way society approaches dental health in general.
The Dentists highlighted the issues the UK has with oral healthcare, but more needs to be done to reach those that are making mistakes when it comes to their dental health. Dentists should work to make sure people take good care of their teeth, and their childrens’.