Oral health inequalities a major issue in reducing extractions, says BFS

Targeted Community Water Fluoridation (CWF) should be included in any programme to drive down the unacceptable level of dental decay in children, says  The British Fluoridation Society in a response to the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England (FDS RCSEng).

While supporting the call from FDS (in a press release issued 23/09/20) for the roll-out of supervised tooth brushing schemes in early years settings and for a renewed commitment to sugar taxes, BFS spokesperson Ray Lowry highlighted  the important role of water fluoridation.

He said: “Water fluoridation requires no behaviour change and the evidence (1) shows that it is highly effective in reducing dental decay and delivers the most benefit to the most deprived. Let us not forget that the oral health of children in England generally is improving at the same time as worsening among those living in areas of high need.  Work to reduce decay among the most deprived is ongoing and needs to be multi-faceted.”

Dr Lowry added: “Uncertainty over public health is a worry following the disbandment of Public Health England (PHE) but their work continues to inspire and inform. For instance, their guidance on water fluoridation for local authorities and water monitoring reports (2,3).”

“Following on from its excellent green paper on prevention (4), we would like to see the Government rolling back the cuts it has made to local authorities who have responsibility for public health and allow them to invest in areas of highest need. ”

References:

1)   https://academic.oup.com/ije/article-abstract/49/3/908/5826797

2)   https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/water-fluoridation-health-monitoring-report-for-england-2018

3)   https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/774128/Fluoridation_Toolkit_-_Publications_gateway_version_20160304.pdf

4)   https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/advancing-our-health-prevention-in-the-2020s/advancing-our-health-prevention-in-the-2020s-consultation-document

Faculty of Dental Surgeons publishes guidance on prioritising patients

As practices begin to reopen, the Faculty of Dental Surgeons (FDS) has published guidance on prioritising patients. The prioritisation guidance was coordinated by a short term working group which included representatives from the Association of Dental Hospitals, Specialist Associations and Societies, the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) and the Faculty of Dental Surgery, Royal College of Surgeons of England. 

Commenting on the guidance, Professor Michael Escudier, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgeons at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: “Dental practices are restarting services, and difficult decisions will need to be made about how patients are prioritised. Understandably there will be patients desperate to finish the treatment plan they started before Covid-19 hit, but ultimately a patient who is in excruciating pain needs to be prioritised over a planned root canal or filling. They will also need to manage patient expectations, particularly as there will be a huge backlog of patients, yet fewer patients will be able to be treated in the same time-frame before the outbreak.

“FDS, in collaboration with a range of stakeholders, has published prioritisation guidance intended to assist oral health care professionals in triaging and managing patients as we transition to recovery. This should be used in conjunction with national guidance relating to good practice and infection prevention and control. National guidance is available online for EnglandScotlandWales and Northern Ireland. It will likely be some months before services return to providing care in a similar manner to that seen before lockdown, and the pace is dependent on a continuing decline in Covid infections.”