Dental caries ‘a national disgrace’

Dentist Barry McGonigle, the new BDA president, described the continuing problem of preventable disease ‘as a national disgrace’ as he was installed at the BDA conference last week.

A general dental practitioner from Omagh in Northern Ireland, he was installed as the new president at the Conference held in London.

In his presidential address, he spoke ‘about a subject close to my heart and one that touches my everyday life as a dentist’.

He works in a family practice established by his father in 1949 which treats patients who suffer some of the highest rates of dental caries in the UK.

This is in contrast to national dental health surveys which show declining incidence in caries and periodontal disease, to a level where in most places the younger generation ‘are now strangers to dental interventions’.

Barry’s presidential message came as a salutary reminder to those, both in the profession and outside, who complacently think that dental decay has been eliminated.

He told his audience that in Northern Ireland ‘the scourge of dental caries is far from a thing of the past’.

He said: ‘In the other countries of the United Kingdom there is talk of a new decay-free generation and an older "heavy metal" generation. In Northern Ireland, one heavy metal generation is blending into another.’

He said: ‘The fact that children in parts of the UK in 2013 are suffering from a disease like dental caries should make us hang our heads in shame. And the companies and commercial enterprises who so shamelessly put profit motive before fundamental health should be particularly held to account’.

During his year as president, the BDA will launch of a campaign against both sugary and acidic products.

• By Dentistry news correspondent Michael Watson



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