Welsh Government must not rest on its laurels on tooth decay
While tooth decay in five-year-olds in Wales has declined by more than 10 per cent since 2008, thanks in part to the programme, progress remains slow, and Welsh children’s oral health still lags significantly behind their English counterparts. Dental decay is present in 35.4 per cent of five-year olds in Wales.
BDA Wales has also expressed profound concerns that the current refocusing of Designed to Smile on under-fives has meant substantially redeploying a static budget away from older children. It understands several health boards have already stopped delivering fluoride varnish applications for six-to-seven-year olds through the scheme. Many such children do not have the option of seeing a high street dentist – 33 per cent of children in Wales haven't seen a dentist in the last two years.
Lead dentists have called for increased resources given the significant returns on investment these schemes generate through lower treatment costs, and for urgent action to address a mounting access crisis.