The British Dental Association urges health ministers to invest in preventative measures

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The British Dental Association has urged health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to invest in prevention in a bid to reduce the prevalence of tooth decay in the UK.

In an open letter to Mr Hunt, the association claims that for every £1 invested in preventative measures, the NHS could save £3. The letter appeals for information to be made available in relation to investments in dental care and educational programmes. BDA chair, Dr Mick Armstrong, said that failing to invest in prevention will only serve to shoot the NHS in the foot and reduce the efficacy of strategies put in place by ministers. Focusing on cure, rather than prevention, will increase spending and eliminate the possibility of improving standards of oral health, as well as applying even greater pressure to NHS services.

Recently, it was revealed that spending on dental care has decreased from £41 to £36 per person, and the BDA is keen to learn more about where the government is investing fees generated by patients and taxpayers. The organisation has appealed for the government to ensure that prevention is at the heart of a revised contract and urged ministers to commit more funding to dental services.

Mr Armstrong said that more and more children are waiting for treatment in hospital, but the solution shouldn’t be to increase the provision of surgical services. Instead, it makes much better sense to invest in preventative measures that would help to prevent children from being in a position where they require teeth extracted under general anaesthetic.

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