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​Vulnerable young patients need support

31 August 2017


The British Dental Association (BDA) has commented on new research showing children in care are twice as likely to have a tooth removed under general anaesthetic.


The University of Glasgow research, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, compared data from 622,280 children from Scotland - 10,924 of whom were currently or recently looked after - and found 49% of children in care do not attend the dentist regularly, in comparison with 38% of the general child population.


9% of children in care have had a tooth extraction under general anaesthetic compared with 5% of other youngsters. The research follows recent studies from Healthwatch on wholly inadequate provision of dental services for elderly care home residents.


The BDA's Michael Cranfield said:


"Children in care are facing hospital extractions in such numbers because dentistry has been treated as an optional extra. This research adds to a growing body of evidence on the UK care system where the oral health needs of vulnerable patients - both children and adults with additional needs - have simply been disregarded.  


"Government has a duty to provide structure to these children, many of whom come from chaotic backgrounds. The onus is on the authorities to ensure all their health needs are met."


About the BDA

The BDA is the voice of dentists and dental students in the UK. We bring dentists together, support our members through advice and education, and represent their interests.


As a trade union and professional body, we represent all fields of dentistry including general practice, community dental services, the armed forces, hospitals, academia, public health and research.

We are owned and run by our members and all our income is reinvested for the benefit of the profession.


Membership packages reflect the varied needs of dentists.