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Dental Services

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 26 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to ensure that oral health is maintained in England. (196866)

Oral health in England has improved considerably during the last 30 years and the Government wish to see this improvement maintained.

In 2003 the Government enacted new legislation which gives communities a real option of having their water fluoridated should this be needed to reduce oral health inequalities and improve oral health. A number of areas across the country are now actively considering the possibility of new water fluoridation schemes.

Recognising that it may not be feasible to fluoridate all these high need areas, the Government developed the Brushing for Life programme. Brushing for Life involves health visitors giving families with young children in high need areas advice on preventing dental decay and a free pack containing a tube of fluoridated toothpaste, a toothbrush and a leaflet on oral hygiene. In many areas it is run in close association with Sure Start.

In October 2005 the Government published Choosing Better Oral Health: an oral health plan for England which set out a strategy to reduce oral health inequalities. In September 2007 the Department published Delivering Better Oral Health: An evidence-based toolkit for prevention, which contains guidance to dentists and other dental care professionals on how to promote oral health and prevent dental disease and provides information to primary care trusts on what preventive care they should be commissioning.