The inclusion of children’s oral health in the NHS Long Term Plan – published yesterday has been welcomed by the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD)
The association has been campaigning for oral health to be recognised as a marker for general well-being and a priority for prevention.
Although the Plan contains no chapter or even paragraph heading for oral health, the fact that it is mentioned in the context of holistic care for children represents significant progress, considering that it has been excluded from earlier strategies for the NHS.
The document states that local areas should design and implement models of care that will ‘support health development by providing holistic care across local authority and NHS services, including primary care, community services, speech and language therapy, school nursing, oral health, acute and specialised services.’
Dentistry is also included in references to children with learning disabilities.
The NHS plan commits to investing to ensure that this cohort of children have needs met in relation to eyesight, hearing and dental services.
‘It’s really good to see recognition for oral health in the NHS Long Term plan,’ said Claire Stevens, spokesperson for BSPD.
‘I am delighted that there is a mention for Starting Well, the prevention programme launched in 2017 in high priority areas. We would like to see this extended into other areas where there are high levels of dental decay,’ she added.