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Posts tagged “NHS”

Sheffield Professor calls for water fluoridation to be a focal point of new government prevention plan

Professor Michael Lennon OBE, from the School of Clinical Dentistry at the University of Sheffield, has called for water fluoridation to be a focal point of new preventative measures revealed by the Department of Health.

Recently, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, announced that he was implanting a plan for the NHS, which concentrates on prevention rather than cure. The measures will be included in a green paper, which will be launched in 2019. Mr Hancock is trying to shift the balance between investing in treatments and therapies and spending more on prevention. Currently, there’s a huge gulf in spending, and the MP believes that focusing on prevention will save the NHS substantial amounts of money, as well as reducing the number of deaths related to preventable risk factors.

Prof Lennon has backed Mr Hancock’s suggestions, and is now urging the government to consider water fluoridation as a measure to prevent decay and improve standards of oral health, especially in deprived areas. Mr Lennon, a former chair of the British Fluoridation Society, claimed that there needs to be an impetus on protecting childrens’ teeth, and used the example of conflict in Hull to demonstrate just how difficult it is to promote fluoridation at present. Hull and East Yorkshire’s Local Dental Committee has been trying to implement fluoridation for some time, but members have been faced with opposition.

Recently, MP Alan Johnson spoke out in favour of water fluoridation, and studies suggest that it is an effective measure, which fits in with the government’s desire to invest in prevention. Public Health England has released research suggesting that fluoridation provides an impressive return on investment.

Prof Lennon has also highlighted the need for more money to be made available for fluoridation, and suggested that the government encourage local authorities to be more open to supporting the use of fluoride.

How often should you be going to the dentist?

A health watchdog based in Yorkshire has recently launched a project, which aims to free up dental appointments by encouraging patients to attend check-ups less frequently. Many of us believe that it’s necessary to attend checks every 6 months, but how often do you really need to go to the dentist?

For many years, it has been assumed that six-monthly check-ups are recommended for all, but a growing number of dental experts believes that the frequency of visits can be reduced without harming oral health. England’s chief dental officer, Sara Hurley, suggested that 6-monthly checks were not essential for all patients, and NICE guidelines recommend checks every 3-24 months depending on the patient’s oral health status. While those who are prone to dental health problems may need to attend appointments every 3-6 months, those with a very low risk of oral issues may not need to see a dentist for 2 years after their most recent check-up.

The new project in Yorkshire is certain to get people talking about the frequency of dental visits, and it will be interesting to see the results of the pilot. Healthwatch Kirklees, which is working with NHS departments and local dentists, is hoping to encourage patients to communicate with their dentists to determine how often they should go to the surgery, rather than relying on advice, which isn’t tailored to the individual.

The advice from dental experts is to check with your dentist. If you haven’t been for a routine appointment in the last 9 months, it’s probably a good idea to book a check-up in the near future. Once your dentist has examined your mouth, they will be able to tell you when you will need to return for your next appointment. If you get a clean bill of health, and everything looks good, you may not need to go back for another 9-24 months.

Childhood decay epidemic is costing the NHS more than £35 million per year

shutterstock_262465640Extraction procedures carried out in UK hospitals are costing the NHS millions of pounds per year, it has been confirmed. Last year, the NHS spent more than £35 million on dental procedures, which could have been prevented.

According to statistics from the Local Government Association (LGA), a total of 42,911 extractions were carried out on children in England last year. This equates to 170 extractions per day at a cost of £36.2 million.

The new figures demonstrate an increase of almost 20% in extractions over the last four years, with the NHS spending approximately £165 million on treating decay since 2012.

A spokesperson for NHS England described the situation as an “unfortunate and unnecessary epidemic” and blamed the surge in cases of decay on an increase in sugar consumption. The figures have been released just days after Public Health England launched a new campaign to encourage parents and children to scrap sugary snacks in favour of healthier options.

The LGA, which represents a total of 37 councils in Wales and England, has called for more to be done to tackle excessive sugar consumption and suggested measures such as reducing the sugar content of soft drinks and using a teaspoon labelling system, which would show buyers how many teaspoons of sugar each product contains.

Dental decay is the most common cause of hospital admissions among children in the UK.

New study suggests lost dentures cost the NHS £1 million per year

shutterstock_626186723A new study suggests that lost dentures cost the NHS around £1 million per year.

The study, which has been published in the British Dental Journal, revealed that almost 700 sets of dentures were lost in hospitals belonging to 11 trusts in England between 2011 and 2016. It is estimated that nationwide, 9,500 dentures are lost each year at a cost of around £1 million.

Peter Dyer, president of the British Dental Association, said that losing dentures can be incredibly distressing for patients and this study shows just how common it is for patients to lose their dentures whilst in hospital. Patients often lack confidence in their appearance without their dentures and it can also affect their ability to eat and also to communicate with others. The situation is also often made worse by the fact that it tends to take several weeks to replace lost dentures.

In light of the findings, the British Dental Association is calling for hospital trusts to do more to prevent patients from ending up waiting weeks for replacement dentures. Research suggests that the most common cause of lost dentures is patients trying to hide or store them in wrapped-up tissue or cloth, which either gets cleared away or caught up in bed linen or dirty washing. The BDA is encouraging hospital staff to be more aware of the impact of denture loss and to try and take steps to help patients store and look after their dentures safely.

New figures show half of adults in England haven’t been to the dentist for 2 years

shutterstock_268735361New figures from the NHS show that around half of adults living in England haven’t seen an NHS dentist in the last two years.

Statistics from NHS Digital show that 51.4 percent of adults saw an NHS dentist in the 24-month period leading up to June 30th 2017 despite recommendations from dentists. Ideally, most dentists recommend check-ups every 6-12 months for adult patients.

The figures come as stories appear in the press claiming that people are being forced to go private or even remove their own teeth because they can’t get an appointment at their local dental practice. BBC research suggested that around 50 percent of the practices in England listed on NHS Choices aren’t accepting new NHS patients and 40 percent aren’t advertising child places.

Recently, a couple from Yorkshire appeared hit the headlines after claiming that they had been refused access to a dentist and forced to extract their own teeth. Rebecca Brearey, from Dewsbury, said that she had been trying to register with a dental practice for four years, but had repeatedly been told that there were no places available. She said that she reached the point of begging for help, but was still unable to see a dentist and ended up removing her own tooth.

Chair of general dental practice at the British Dental Association, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, accused successive governments as viewing dentistry as a “Cinderella service” and said that urgent action needs to be taken to prioritise dental access and also to improve morale in the dental profession, which the BDA chair claims is at “an all-time low.”

The NHS stated that 95 percent of patients who wanted a dental appointment in the 2-year period leading up to the end of June 2017 were able to get one.

Pregnant women urged to make use of free dental services

shutterstock_315126320Pregnant women have been urged to make use of health benefits available to them on the NHS.

When you fall pregnant, you are entitled to claim a maternity exemption card, which enables you to claim free dental treatment, as well as free prescriptions. The cards are handed out by the government and can serve as a very useful means of reducing the risk of health issues during pregnancy and cutting the cost of healthcare. Prescriptions usually cost £8.60 per item and dental treatment is available from around £20.

Going to the dentist during pregnancy is particularly important because the hormonal changes that take place in the body can put you at greater risk of developing oral diseases, including gum disease. Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the UK, but research also suggests that it can increase your risk of suffering from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Women who have gum disease are more likely to give birth prematurely.

All pregnant women are advised to go to the dentist at least once during their pregnancy, and treatment continues to be available free of charge for 12 months after the baby is born. If you notice symptoms like swollen or sore gums or bleeding from the gums, it’s essential to make an appointment.

If you have any questions about applying for a maternity exemption card, your doctor, midwife or dentist can help. Most women receive their card within 10 days of applying.

The Range Of Dental Treatments On Offer In London

It is always useful to know about the range of dental treatments available to you and what they involve so that you know how to make informed decisions for yourself in the future. Dental treatments evolve all the time, new ones come along too and so, to get what’s best, it’s always good to be clued up. If you go for NHS choices in London, you’ll be offered fillings, scaling and polishing, dentures, bridges, braces and repairs, among many other little touches. If you are canny enough to have a good dental insurance though, you can opt more for deluxe versions of all of these, especially in the cosmetic side of dentistry where you can get things like dental implants done, excess gum removed or even botox on the lips to remove those ageing wrinkles. The thing is, although dentistry is now a huge commercial business, it hasn’t taken its eye off what a patient needs and the number one essential, the oral health of patients. Always sit down with your dentist and discuss your treatments, learn all you can and keep yourself abreast of what’s available.

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