Despite the importance of oral health, too many people in the UK neglect their teeth and gums
The quest for parity of esteem between mental health and physical health in the NHS has become a major concern for society, and attitudes are slowly changing. But what about oral health?
The sense that it is “only teeth”, and somehow less important than other aspects of physical health, remains deeply entrenched. This is frustrating further progress in improving the nation’s oral health and threatens to undo the achievements of recent years.
While great strides have been made in improving oral health overall, the state of the nation’s teeth remains a cause for concern. There is significant variation in oral health across the UK, with some parts of the country showing little improvement over the past 20 years.
Children are now more likely to be admitted to hospital because of tooth decay than for any other health issue. About half of adults and some 60 per cent of children simply never go to the dentist even though regular check-ups to maintain good oral health are widely encouraged.
Persuading the general public to take their teeth more seriously is no easy task when official attitudes to dentistry and oral health are ambivalent. The NHS Five Year Forward View, the template for health services in England in the period to 2020, did not include dentistry. This is despite the fact that millions of patients see an NHS dentist every year. Many of these patients are subsequently referred to other parts of the NHS for further treatment.
Around £6 billion a year is spent on dental treatment in the UK, which is broadly the same as the cost of NHS cancer services.
A further complication is that overall responsibility for oral health in England lies with local authorities, as part of their public health remit. Given the competing demands on cash-strapped councils, it is perhaps no surprise that encouraging people to go to the dentist is not given the highest priority.
Our NHS Dentist can help you take good care of your children's and your oral health. We build good relationships with children from a young age to ensure they do not have a fear of the dentists. if you are not registered with and NHS Dentist in Liverpool, we are currently still registering new patients. If you have any other queries for our Liverpool Dentist, please contact us.