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​Oral health inequalities are avoidable, says BDA

Despite improvements in children’s dental health over the past decade, today’s publication of the Child Dental Health Survey 2013 confirms that unacceptably high levels of tooth decay still persist, the BDA has said.
The BDA is concerned that as many as 72 per cent of children in Northern Ireland experience of decay compared with 44 per cent in England and 63 per cent in Wales, while the deep inequality divide across the three countries shows that 41 per cent of children have tooth decay in deprived areas compared with 29 per cent in more affluent communities.

According to today’s figures around one in eight children admit to drinking sugary drinks at least four times a day. There is therefore no room for complacency, the BDA believes, since over consumption of sugary foods and drink is the cause of tooth decay and the much-reported rise in obesity levels in the young.

However given the importance of developing good oral habits in childhood, the BDA welcomes the relatively high number of children who brush their teeth at least twice a day and visit the dentist regularly for check-ups.

The British Dental Association’s Scientific Adviser, Professor Damien Walmsley, said:

“Despite welcome improvements over the past decade, this survey confirms that we are still looking at an oral health gap in Britain.

"It’s a scandal that a child’s postcode or their parents’ income still determine whether they will grow up with healthy smiles or rotten teeth. 

“These inequalities are persistent, but avoidable, and both parents and government must accept their share of responsibility. We need to send clear signals on brushing, on sugar and on fluoride if we are finally going to bridge this gap.”

About the BDA

The British Dental Association (BDA) is the professional association and trade union for dentists in the UK. It represents dentists working in general practice, in community and hospital settings, in academia and research, and in the armed forces, and includes dental students. The BDA promotes members’ interests, advances the science, arts and ethics of dentistry, and contributes towards improving the nation's oral health.

For further information, please contact the BDA's media team on 0207 563 4145/46 or visit the BDA's news centre. You can also follow news from the BDA on Twitter. Membership packages reflect the varied needs of dentists.