Britain’s dental crisis is forcing charities that assist third world countries to step in.
Dentists in the UK are so inundated with targets and admin, they lack the time and resources to properly focus on dental health, resulting in a ‘national disaster’ that is making patient treatment a low priority, according to a letter signed by more than 400 dentists.
Described as ‘an international disgrace’, Dentaid, a charity which works across parts of Africa, Asia and Central America, set up its first UK scheme in West Yorkshire two years ago and provides free care to low-income patients.
The charity has since expanded its reach, with mobile services being set up in Hampshire, Cornwall and Buckinghamshire.
Previous research reveals one in six areas in the UK have no dentists left taking NHS patients.
Some 31 per cent of adults in the UK have tooth decay, which is defined as the destruction of the enamel, leading to holes in the teeth, gum disease or the collection of pus in the teeth or gums. Tooth decay is caused by acids produced by plaque.
Britain’s dental crisis is forcing charities that assist the Third World to step in (stock)
REVEALED: THE FIVE DENTAL FADS THAT ARE WREAKING HAVOC WITH YOUR TEETH
Top dentists have revealed how trendy fads are wreaking havoc with people’s teeth.
Despite the likes of Gisele Bündchen and the Hemsley sisters swearing by starting every morning with a refreshing glass of hot water and lemon, Dr Ben Atkins, a dentist based in Manchester and Trustee of the Oral Health Foundation, warns the drink effectively dissolves teeth and could even make them darker.
While critics link fluoride to everything from dementia to diabetes, experts argue numerous studies show the mineral does not harm people’s health, with free-from varieties missing out on ‘the main protective ingredient’.
Dr Atkins also describes the ancient Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling, which involves swishing coconut oil around the mouth, as a ‘waste of time’, with Dr Rhona Eskander, Best Young Dentist Winner 2016, adding it will not give you a Hollywood smile.
In terms of brushing your teeth with charcoal or apple cider vinegar, both Dr Atkins and Dr Eskander add the ‘natural remedies’ could do more harm than good as while their acidic, abrasive consistencies may remove surface stains, they could also permanently damage enamel.
‘You have got charities looking at Britain and seeing there is a desperate need’
Dentists are said to be struggling to work in a system that is ‘under-resourced and focused more upon experimental targets and tick boxes than patients,’ according to a letter sent to The Telegraph.
Dr Tony Kilcoyne, a dentist from Haworth, West Yorkshire, who organised the letter, said: ‘It is a terrible situation when you have got charities looking at Britain and seeing there is a desperate need to provide basic care.
‘This letter is a wake-up call; we are urging [the] Government to act now to improve the state of dentistry and tackle the inadequacies in our system.’
As well as Dentaid, the US charity Remote Area Medical also wants to set up temporary dental clinics across the UK.
NHS is boosting aid to at-need under five-year-olds
An NHS England spokesperson referenced a recent survey showing patients in need of an NHS dentist appointment are nearly always able to get one, with their experience being positive almost nine out of 10 times.
The spokesperson adds the NHS has recently launched a campaign known as ‘Starting Well’, which helps children under five from high-risk communities see a dentist.
This comes after research in August revealed one in seven toddlers have tooth decay, with experts worrying parents do not appreciate the importance of brushing their children’s teeth as they juggle the responsibility of raising a family.
Study author Maria Morgan from Cardiff University, said: ‘People don’t realise that you should start that early. We are having some children at five, six or seven who are having five, six, seven, eight, nine teeth removed in one go.’