Oral Health action groups a significant step forward – BDANews
Posted by: The Probe 21st October 2019
Two new ‘Oral Health Options’ action groups to be established, focusing on child oral health and oral health of the elderly
The British Dental Association has welcomed an announcement by the Department of Health to establish two new groups focusing on the oral health of children and the elderly in Northern Ireland. However any action will need to be accompanied by adequate investment and a commitment to address the needs of the dental workforce if it is to be successful, the dentists’ body warned
Chief Dental Officer Simon Reid made the announcement speaking at a BDA Oral Health matters event at Stormont today (17 October), a landmark oral health event calling for a new vision for oral health in Northern Ireland. The event featured a capacity crowd of key stakeholders including Health Spokespersons of the main political parties, the Older Person’s Commissioner, policymakers, advocates, leading public health organisations and charities.
BDA Northern Ireland has campaigned over many years for action to deliver improved oral health outcomes in Northern Ireland in particular for children and the elderly. The current Oral Health Strategy is now 12 years old, having been launched back in 2007.
According to the latest Child Dental Health Survey which was published in 2015, just 19% of 15-year olds here were considered to have ‘good oral health’. In 2017/18 almost 5,000 (4,724) children faced tooth extraction under General Anaesthetic (GA) in Northern Ireland (x3 times pro-rata than England).
BDA Northern Ireland has also highlighted the mounting pressures on dentists to meet the increased challenges from a growing ageing population that is increasingly retaining some natural teeth into old age.
The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland recently called for urgent improvements to be made to oral care provision for older people in Northern Ireland alongside the Children’s Commissioner who has called for more to be done to tackle oral health inequalities to give children the best start in life.