It was hard to miss the news this month about the new statistics regarding children's oral health in England. There has been a 17% increase of extractions of multiple teeth in from 2012/13 to 2016/17 taking the numbers up to 42,911.
Yes, that's nearly 50,000 procedures on children from a preventable disease. It's shocking that such an issue is the number one reason for admittance to hospital for children.
When working in my previous post as a GDP, I saw a lot of children with signs of caries and I would try and give diet advice and oral hygiene instruction. But the problem for parents is that the easy choice, is often the unhealthy one.
With parents bombarded with messages about child safety online today, in the physical world, I'd like to see parents also being given more messages from government, about healthy eating, and ones that focus on oral health, as well as general health.
Surely, it's time the government took note, and more importantly, takes some real action?
At this rate, given the increased risk of tooth decay in adult teeth in individuals with caries in the primary dentition, the utopian view that dental disease will be significantly lower in the future is only just pipe dream.
And yet HEE is looking at proposals to potentially reduce the number of dentists being trained (as I spoke about in my last blog). This shows a significant lack of joined up thinking, and exposes the indifferent attitude from some to the nation's oral health.
Something that makes me feel better about the situation, is the increasing engagement of young dentists in the BDA's representative structures.
The seats for the YDC election that took place last year, were very much over-subscribed, and it's heartening to see such enthusiasm and those willing to put their head above the parapet. The list of the new candidates is now on the YDC webpage, and we will be sending you more information about them soon, so you can get to know who is representing you.
The first meeting of the new YDC will take place on 22 February, and they will be taking over the reins from myself and the other current committee members.
The YDC Is just one way to get engaged and help develop your career, there are lots of others – such as going along to your local BDA Branch/Section, joining your Local Dental Committee or attending BDA events.
The outgoing YDC have worked hard and been active in representing you over the last three years - read some of the highlights here.
The BDA careers day was revamped with input from the YDC, and the conference had multiple young dentist sessions led by young dentists.
The starting out pages for the BDA site were developed to help you at the outset of your career.
This will be the final newsletter from me and I am immensely proud to have been part of the first YDC, and especially to have introduced the young dentists' enewsletter as a regular fixture.
I hope you have found it to be a useful source of information and maybe some of you are inspired to submit an article or two in the future – we welcome submissions from everyone, just get in touch.
Dentistry is all of our futures. It is up to us to help steer it in the direction we want it go and to safeguard our profession, as well as uphold professionalism, for the generations of dentists to come. I feel privileged to have taken a small part in that and look forward to seeing the work, and the successes of, our new YDC.
Get your voice heard
The BDA's Young Dentists Committee is offering you a chance to discuss your views and share your experience. If you'd like to write an article for our next e-newsletter, please email us.
We'd also love to hear your thoughts on our blogs: please give feedback by tweeting @TheBDA, using the hashtag #youngdentists