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The decay of British dental care

28th January 2008

Writing in The Telegraph, Alice Thomson discusses the "new British disease" of bad teeth.

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The NHS will do its best to cure a whole range of illnesses and ailments, but if you have bad teeth, forget it.

The few who are able to find an NHS dentist may still be charged 80% of the cost of their treatment unless they qualify for free care.

Labour and the Conservatives are both to blame, parties that have "victimised the dentally challenged," with a Citizens Advice Bureau survey now claiming that seven and a half million Britons have failed to gain access to an NHS dentist in the past two years.

"Families such as mine, who have large, unruly teeth, have become part of a new genetic underclass, discriminated against by the state."

In addition, a friend ended up paying £350 to have a tooth pulled out, after being told a crown would cost £700 privately.

Dentists' charges in the UK are now the most expensive in Europe yet at the same time there is pressure to have perfect teeth, a factor that has led to Britons paying £360m a year on cosmetic dentistry.

But this has created "two dental nations in Britain" with those who cannot afford the fees suffering and diseases of the mouth and gum on the increase.

The new dental contract, introduced in 2006, is at the root of the problem and should be scrapped before the quality of British teeth falls further.

"First-world diets and third-world dental care" have delivered a nation with 19th century teeth in the UK.

 

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