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UK Against Fluoridation

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Graham Allen MP: The shocking state of children’s oral health

Graham Allen MP says he will use today's debate to highlight to Jeremy Hunt and Alistair Burt UK's current crisis in dental health. 

A dentist examines a patientThe main reason kids go to A&E from my low income, Nottingham North constituency is not falling off a bike or out of a tree but for surgery on their mouth and gums. NHS dental surgery costs are rising at the same time dental charges are going up by 5% this year and next. One wonders if the two are connected.
Higher charges in turn are another disincentive for low income adults to visit their dentist, especially in more deprived areas such as my constituency of Nottingham North. Currently one in four over 55s require complex dental treatment, which is also magnifying the problem.
However, the root cause is the shocking state of children’s oral health. The combination of sugary drinks and lack of fluoride in kid’s diet means that many of them have teeth that are rotten and decaying as young as 4 or 5 years old. It is said that the average 5 year old consumes his own weight in sugar every year (the problem is more prevalent in boys), which is roughly 22kg. A significant number are having to have surgery under general anaesthesia costing £35 million last year (up from £21 million 5 years ago).                    
The current dental contract is not geared towards prevention, but reaction. This is despite 90% of the problem being preventable. A new contract is currently being trailed and negotiated but while this is ongoing, our kid’s teeth are getting worse. Sort out the new dental contract quickly Alistair!
We must educate our kids and ensure every primary school child has the free dental check, as we are planning to do in Nottingham North in partnership with Boots. We can improve the oral health of our children so that when they grow up, they become less of a burden on the NHS. Plus healthy teeth can boost kid’s confidence and make a real difference to their lives. There are a number of schemes across England, like Hull’s Teeth Team, which are already starting to see results, and national schemes in Scotland and Wales are having a vital impact. Enable every primary kid to take advantage of the pre-existing free NHS dental check Jeremy!
Additionally, by increasing the amount of fluoride in our children’s diets, using fluoride toothpaste daily, fluoride varnish when they visit the dentist and putting fluoride in our water supply, we can help to prevent decaying teeth. In areas where the water supply is fluoridated, there are 45% fewer extractions, proving that it can make a real difference. Alistair, help every deprived area in England to fluoridate!
If we can get kids in front of a dental professional for their check up and teach them to look after their teeth by brushing regularly and limiting the amount of sugar in their diet, we can start to reduce the amount of operations and improve kid’s teeth. This will have a knock on effect of saving money to the tax payer, which could mean the increases in dental fees would not be necessary.


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