This was the view of Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, speaking at the BioMin webinar on issues surrounding children’s dental health.
The Oral Health Foundation is launching a campaign to encourage dentists to take this time, while they have no NHS output-related requirements, to step back from their normal practice and move towards a preventive model. ‘Uniquely in the history of the NHS, dentists are not being paid to drill and fill,’ he said, ‘so we have an opportunity [to make this change] which we all know is the future but which the system has constrained us against.’ New ways of working, such as remote consultations, will give practitioners greater access to patients between appointments to reinforce their oral health regimes, he said.
He warned, however, that once patients were being seen again it was important that children were seen first. ‘As dental practices return to normal practice there will be a need to prioritise children, because if they are left for longer the consequences will be larger for the child population than for the adult population.’
BioMin® toothpastes hold the highly respected Oral Health Foundation accreditation and when the interviewer, Victoria Wilson, asked Dr Carter about the importance of the Foundation’s validation system he replied: ‘It is to protect the consumer against bogus or exaggerated claims about a product. One of the things that we aim to do is to make sure that the public can be reassured when they see the Foundation accreditation logo on a pack that the claims are justified and that they are not being sold overexaggerated claims – and a product that doesn’t do what it says it does.’
Water fluoridation is high on the Oral Health Foundation’s agenda, and Dr Carter has seen the benefits of it in his own practice. He said he was ‘delighted’ to hear from Sir Paul Beresford’s talk that ‘at last’ there was real interest at government level in water fluoridation, something that the Oral Health Foundation will increasingly be supporting and promoting. ‘This is going to be one of the things that can most transform children’s oral health,’ he said. ‘It really is going to be a huge step forward and a huge health benefit.’
Next time: Professor Ferranti Wong – clinical issues in children’s dentistry