Oral health in our coastal communities

26 July 2021
1 min read

Neil Carmichael, chair of the ADG, has responded to the chief medical officer’s annual report on ‘Health in our Coastal Communities’, published recently.  

“The Coastal Communities report confirms that coastal towns face many healthcare challenges, but it is important to remember that this includes dental public health. Our members have been telling us that the hardest parts of the country for recruiting dentists include many coastal communities, such as Scarborough, Hull, Cornwall and the Isle of Wight.”

We welcome the report recommendation that ‘The current mismatch between health and social care worker deployment and disease prevalence in coastal areas needs to be addressed. This requires action by HEE and NHSE/I’, however, this must include the dental workforce and consider incentives for training and working in coastal areas struggling with access to NHS dentistry.”

Sandra White, ADG clinical director added, “There are persistent inequalities in oral health across England. In 2019, five-year-old children in half of the 10 case study areas mentioned in the report, had a higher number of decayed, filled and missing teeth than the English average. Oral health must not be left behind in levelling up population health across the country.”

“Dental decay is largely preventable. It is worth noting that two of the coastal areas used as case studies in the report benefit from fluoridated water supplies, with five-year-old children in these areas having a lower than the national average experience of tooth decay. (Hartlepool and parts of Lincolnshire)”.