The British Dental Association (BDA) has responded to new data from the Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) at the Royal College of Surgeons showing that 80% of one- to two-year-olds in England did not visit an NHS dentist in the year to 31 March 2017.

The BDA has conducted polling with YouGov indicating that millions of UK parents are unaware that NHS dentistry is free for children under 18. The BDA has long criticised the government’s increasing over-reliance on patient charges, which exist to discourage patients from seeking care. 

Tooth decay remains the number one reason for tooth decay among children in Britain. The BDA has been calling on all parties to deliver an oral health strategy based on prevention.

BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said:

“Tooth decay is the number one reason for child hospital admissions, yet the overriding priority of successive governments has been keeping patient numbers down.

“There are no public education campaigns, budget is set aside to treat just over half the population, while charge hikes are designed to make patients think twice about treatment. The net result is even those who don’t need to pay are put off by costs.

“The fact millions of parents are unaware these check-ups are free of charge shows just how little energy the authorities have put into prevention. The next government must focus on reaching out to patients of all ages, not erecting new barriers to care.”

This article appears on the BDA website at: