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Teeth make kids: Northern Ireland Branch event

Blog Author Claudette Christie

Blog Date 07/03/2019



It was great to see our recent Northern Ireland Branch event, 'Teeth Makes Kids', so well attended, and the day was delivered in a very practical 'hands-on' style, to give attendees information about managing child dentition and focusing on prevention.

We were honoured to have Professor Chris Deery, from the School of Clinical Dentistry at the University of Sheffield, as our key speaker. A well-respected academic in his field, he gave an informative and practical talk on paediatric dentistry and oral health, with a strong focus on prevention, in the context of the state of oral health in Northern Ireland. His research work includes a focus on improving caries diagnosis, and he spoke passionately about the need for this to improve patient outcomes. 

Dentists working in practice know that this can be a challenge and can take several attempts to get the message across. Professor Deery suggested that showing empathy with patients and their carers, encouraging them to agree a way forward, rather than just telling them what to do is most effective.

He encouraged dentists to take a whole team approach, with consistent and sustained messaging be given by all the dental care professionals in the practice. He pointed out that many children still don't seem to be brushing twice a day, and the need to ensure that all children and parents take this information on board and sign up to it. 


The day was generously sponsored by Oral B (pictured right: Louise Doherty Oral-B Territory Manager and Clinical Expert with BDA Northern Ireland Branch President Claudette Christie) and they gave a talk on  patient motivaions and the importance of getting the messaging right. They highlighted their toolkit for dental professionals, with resources for giving oral health messages to children. 

Northern Ireland remains at the bottom of the league table when it comes to children's oral health outcomes in the UK, with 40% of 5-year-olds showing signs of decay, compared to 25% in England.

Tooth decay is still the number one reason for child hospital admissions in Northern Ireland. 5,122 children were admitted to hospital in 2017 for the removal of 22,699 teeth. We've estimated this to be costing the Health Service just over £9.3 million.

There's also potentially a huge 'hidden cost' to the economy, for parents/carers having to take time off work to take children to these appointments, as well as the children missing out on school and their school work suffering, due to loss of sleep and the pain they may be in. 

We continue to call for a new oral health strategy for Northern Ireland, and to learn the lessons from the dedicated programmes that are having a great impact in Scotland and Wales.

More CPD events

Our next Branch CPD event takes place on 14 May in Belfast focusing on Neuro-linguistic programming for oral health, book your place soon.


We also have an event coming up for Young Dentists including CPD and a social evening on 13 April in Holywood– we hope to see you there!

Claudette Christie, President

BDA Northern Ireland Branch



BDA Northern Ireland

BDA Northern Ireland supports, represents and promotes, the interests of all dentists working in Northern Ireland. Working with elected committee members, we negotiate on behalf of the profession on terms and conditions, pay and contracts. Join us.