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Teeth health gap unacceptable

30th October 2009

A report by the British Dental Association has raised concerns about dental health in the UK.

Child & Dentist

The BDA document says that there is an "unacceptable and growing chasm" between good and poor dental health with greater focus needed on prevention, especially in children living in the more deprived areas.

The dental association also said the older and disabled people are also at risk from poor oral health and need more attention.

Dentists’ leaders say a more integrated approach is needed from health and social care agencies to help combat the inequalities the study has highlighted.

The BDA report found that in deprived areas 60% of five year-olds and 70% of eight year-olds have clear signs of decay in their milk teeth, compared to 40% of five year-olds and 55% of eight year-olds in more affluent areas.

There is also a seven-fold difference in dental health between the best and worst health trusts in England.

BDA scientific adviser Professor Damien Walmsley said: “There has been a significant improvement in the nation's overall oral health over the last 30 years, but despite that we still see a huge disparity that is all-too-often related to social deprivation.”

Chief Dental Officer for England, Dr Barry Cockcroft, agreed with the BDA over efforts needed to reduce oral health inequalities.

He said children in this country already have some of the lowest rates of tooth decay in the world and every dental practice in England had been sent the world’s first evidence based guide to prevention.

 

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