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Better oral health for Wales

The pandemic is an opportunity for dentistry in Wales to turn the page. If we act now, we can improve oral health and build a sustainable high street dental service that is fit for the future.

Ahead of the Senedd elections, our message to all parties hoping to form the next Welsh government is clear. The next government must:


  1. Improve access to NHS dentistry
  2. Take action on oral health inequalities
  3. Enable a fresh start for dental services post COVID


"Dentistry in Wales was in sharp decline even prior to COVID... The last year has seen access to services collapse, and pioneering work in the community to address oral health inequalities left at risk."


Our oral health manifesto clearly outlines what the next Welsh Government needs to do to support and improve dentistry and oral health. We have shared our policy calls with all the major parties and Plaid Cymru have devoted an entire section of their manifesto to their plans for improving dentistry in Wales. We look forward to similar commitments from the other major parties.


We need:


  • Reform of the General Dental Contract. There can be no return to Units of Dental Activity and dentists must be allowed to continue to prioritise patients based on their clinical judgement without arbitrary targets for clinical interventions.
  • An end to chronic underfunding. Government spend on NHS dentistry in Wales was £47 per head prior to pandemic. It is time at the very least to bring it in line with investment in Scotland (£55 p.h.) and Northern Ireland (£56 p.h.).
  • More investment in ventilation to boost patient numbers and future-proof dental surgeries.
  • Design to Smile to restart as soon as possible and £2 million to be invested in expanding it to 6-10 year olds.
  • Support for the expansion of the Community Dental Service.
  • An end to the underfunding of dental domiciliary services for older people in care.
  • Incentives which make it easier to recruit dentists in rural areas and a reintroduction of NHS commitment payments.
  • A level playing field for dental core trainees and a placement system for foundation training which allows those who train in Wales to stay in Wales.
  • Improved mental health support, working conditions, and contract security for staff to support retention.


Download our 2021 manifesto today



We have already shared this manifesto with all political parties and candidates, but nothing makes the case more powerfully to prospective MSs than hearing directly from you.


Candidates will be out on the streets, on your doorstep, and at hustings events. If you can, please explain to them the problems facing NHS dentistry and ask them – if elected – to speak up for dentists and the nation’s oral health in the Senedd.


You can also share the manifesto with local candidates on social media asking them to pledge to #BridgeTheGap on oral health inequality in Wales. Please tag @theBDA when you do, so we can follow up any conversations with newly-elected MSs and ensure our issues are not forgotten.