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In the news

We're speaking to national and local media daily to represent you and your interests. Here's some of the coverage we've received.

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Dentist's plea: 'we are not greedy' after government set to raise charges
Yorkshire Live reports on Huddersfield dentist Sally Fitzgibbon’s warning that the profession is being "made to look greedy" after the government said patient charges would increase by an inflation-busting 5%. She said: "...the public will think we are getting this money, so dentists spiral downwards in public opinion.” The piece features the BDA’s ‘tax on teeth’ charges poster and includes a quote from General Dental Practice Committee, Chair Dave Cottam: "Patient charges in England will rise by 5% on 14 December. If you treat patients we want to help you set the record straight on who benefits from this increase. The money raised from this increase doesn't go to dentists. It will do nothing to help the practices struggling or the millions of patients struggling to get an appointment.”

BDA members can download the poster and put up in their practice.


The pandemic has forced some dental practices to close
BBC Radio Berkshire presenter Sarah Walker told her listeners yesterday that many of us are no longer able to make a routine visit to the dentist. She cited the BDA in her dental segment and said that the association estimates that since March dentists have provided 19 million fewer treatments compared to this time last year. She also spoke to the ‘singing’ dentist, Milad Shadrooh about the BDA’s call for government support for NHS dentists to invest in ventilation systems to reduce fallow time and therefore see more patients. Milad said that fallow time until recently had been an hour but this has changed and could be even down to 10 minutes but only ‘if they have a machine that changes the air at least 10 times per hour’. He said the cost for a practice with four surgeries was around £10,000, adding that all the costs associated with the pandemic has been so great that he knew of some dental practices that have been forced to close for good. He said that NHS dentists had received some support, including PPE, but said this wasn’t  enough and pointed out that dentists now have to pay 20% more for PPE since VAT has been reinstated.  On the topic of prevention, Milad discussed the importance of good oral hygiene and advised listeners to reduce the amount and frequency of sugar consumption.

BBC Radio Berkshire, Sarah Walker, 30/11/2020, 11.38 – not available online


Dentists need support to get through backlog
Last night ITV New Anglia drew attention to some of the issues that slow down the throughput of dental patients and flagged up that the British Dental Association wants ventilation systems to be installed in the majority of NHS practices with support from the government so dentists can see more patients. This segment also included an interview with a man who struggled to find a dentist after he cracked a tooth from biting on a ‘fortune cookie’. He was unable to find an NHS dentist but eventually found a private dentist.

ITV 1 Anglia, ITV New Anglia, 30 November, 22h55.


Monday 30 November

Long Covid tooth loss may be due to 'previously fit and healthy people' not brushing their teeth as much
Long Covid is unlikely to be a direct cause of tooth loss and may simply be “previously fit and healthy people” not brushing their teeth as much, dentists have claimed the Telegraph reports. An increasing number of people have been diagnosed with 'long Covid' since the pandemic struck, reporting distressing symptoms sometimes lasting for months. Reports have recently emerged of some patients losing teeth after contracting the virus - with one woman from New York recounting how a tooth fell out of her mouth without any blood or pain. However, dental experts have suggested that a more likely explanation for sudden tooth loss is illness hindering people's rigorousness in oral hygiene. Professor Damien Walmsley, the British Dental Association's scientific adviser, said: "There’s no doubt that if people are struggling, anxious or possibly depressed they may be less attentive to brushing their teeth, and this will put them more at risk. "We know that previously fit and healthy people can struggle to do the most basic tasks, such as climbing the stairs. It’s likely too that they are not as attentive to their oral hygiene, which would increase their risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. It is more important than ever, to clean teeth, twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, before bed and on one other occasion." Damien acknowledged that long Covid is a "debilitating condition" with symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain and brain fog which should be taken very seriously. An alternative view put forward by prosthodontist Michael Scherer, California, in the Sun and the Mirror, is that tooth loss may be triggered by an inflammatory response in those with pre-existing gum disease. People with inflammatory health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, are known to have a higher risk of gum disease, the prosthodontist said. "Gum disease is very sensitive to hyper-inflammatory reactions, and Covid long haulers certainly fall into that category," Michael Scherer said. This might aggravate pre-existing gum disease, and therefore indirectly cause tooth loss.


The Sun - JAW DROPPING: New side effect of long-Covid sees sufferers’ teeth fall out suddenly

Children/ teenagers are facing ever longer queues to get a referral to an orthodontist
That was the news, attributed to the BDA, on Mike Zeller’s programme this morning on BBC Radio Cumbria. The BDA also pointed out that orthodontic referrals from dentists have collapsed since the pandemic, and the association estimates that at least 50% of patients that would have started treatment haven’t. The orthodontic segment included an interview with a woman whose son has turned 16 and still hasn’t been fitted for braces. She said that he aspired to be an actor but was concerned that his ‘rubbish’ teeth would hold him back. Consultant in orthodontics for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, Jo Dancer, alluded to the clinical criteria to qualify for NHS orthodontic treatment, and said that urgent cases would be prioritised. She said there was a shortage of orthodontists even before the pandemic, but the situation would improve because a new orthodontic practice was opening up in Barrow and another in Kendall from April.

Not available online

Mouth cancer referrals within Scotland’s largest health board have almost halved during the coronavirus crisis
Figures from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde show that referrals dropped 46 per cent in the six months since March, compared to the previous six months. The decrease has been linked to the drop in people seeing the dentist during the pandemic, as many mouth cancers are spotted at the early stages by dentists. The Oral Health Foundation, which compiled the data, found a 30% decrease in Scotland overall, however only two Scottish health boards responded to its request for information. Across the UK, the number of people being referred for possible mouth cancer fell by a third (33%). The British Dental Association estimates that there is a backlog of 10 million appointments due to dental practices being forced to shut down during the pandemic. Research by the foundations indicates that one-in-six people have experienced at least one of the potential early warning signs of the disease. These can include mouth ulcers lasting three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth, unusual lumps and swellings, and persistent hoarseness. Oral cancer was also covered in news outlets in Wales and Northern Ireland. New data collected from seven NHS Trust Hospitals across the UK shows that the number of people being referred for possible mouth cancer fell from 2,257 in the six months prior to March, to 1,506 in the six months since. Two hospitals in Wales saw a drop of 47 per cent during that time.


The Herald Scotland - Warning over sharp drop in mouth cancer referrals in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
Belfast Live - Warning after death of dad, aged 37, from cancer

South Wales Argus - Action needed as coronavirus sees cancer referrals falls