4 April 2016

The Oral Health Foundation is calling for the government to make a major overhaul of dentistry to ensure there is a focus on prevention in the UK.

The charity has made the appeal in an attempt to halt the dental health crisis the UK is experiencing; with more than 33,000 under tens being admitted to hospital for tooth extractions under general anaesthetic in the last year alone.

President of the Oral Health Foundation, Janet Goodwin, said: "It is absolutely heart-breaking to witness what we are currently experiencing in the UK, to have so many children suffering needlessly due to poor oral health is appalling, something is fundamentally wrong and changes must be made urgently.

"We are appealing for a significant change in how the government approaches dentistry to ensure there is a committed focus on prevention and education so we can help stop problems in their tracks.

"We are waiting with baited breath on the new NHS contract for dentists, which the government have taken far too long to implement.

"The current system is failing those most in need by prioritising output over outcome. The new contract must address this and ensure that as many people as possible are able to access a dentist when they need to.

"We are at risk of leaving a generation in behind when it come to their oral health if something is not done urgently.

"The government must improve education on oral health so that everybody has a better opportunity to stop the pain and suffering from entirely preventable oral health problems."

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes that the current system is seriously limiting a dentist's ability to give patients the best possible care they can. The Oral Health Foundation is not willing to tread water and watch as every day more and more children have to undergo stressful and painful hospital treatments for something which is entirely preventable.

Dr Carter said: "Every day the government ignores the crisis at hand the bigger the problem gets; as our population grows we are seeing more and more evidence of people having difficulty accessing an NHS dentist in certain areas to get the help they urgently need.

"This year marks the 40th anniversary of National Smile Month and in the lead up to it we continue to strive to improve the state of the nation's oral health. And, although we have seen some monumental shifts in the last four decades, it is embarrassing to think that the overall outcomes of dentistry are still limited by a failing government system."

The charity has made their appeal as they complete the process of changing their name from the British Dental Health Foundation.

"Under our new name we continue to remain as passionate and committed as ever in providing expert, independent and impartial advice and education on all aspects of oral health so that we can ensure it is delivered to those who need it most," Dr Carter added.

The Oral Health Foundation have changed their name to reflect the significantly broader reach and influence it has established globally since its formation, and will allow them to further strengthen their ultimate mission of providing better oral health for all.