Health Minister Edwin Poots today reaffirmed his commitment to improving the oral health of the people of Northern Ireland.
The minister spoke as he took the opportunity to join in National Smile Month during a visit to Dunmurry Dental Practice.
Mr Poots said: ‘Northern Ireland has the worst oral health out of all the UK regions and one of my key priorities will be to address that issue and close the oral gap with our neighbours.
‘My Department has introduced a number of preventive initiatives, such as the fluoride toothpaste schemes delivered by the Trusts, and we have noticed a welcome decline in the number of teeth extracted in our young children in recent years. I will continue to focus on preventive dental care to further improve the oral health of our population.’
He added: ‘I welcome the opportunity to visit Dunmurry Dental Practice today during National Smile Month.
‘The vast majority of health service dentistry is delivered through high street dental practices such as this one, and without the commitment and investment of these practices we could not deliver a comprehensive service to the people of Northern Ireland.
‘I am very impressed with the facilities and the dedication of the dental team here in delivering care to such a large number of health service patients.’
The Dunmurry Dental Practice opened in 2004 and underwent a significant extension and refurbishment in 2010.
The practice provides dental care for approximately 6,500 health service patients.
In 2009, it was a clean sweep for Dunmurry Dental Practice in the Northern Ireland region of the Dentisty awards.
They won Best Team and Best Practice, while principal Philip McLorinan claimed the Best Young Dentist prize – a fabulous hat trick that they had won for the second year in a row.