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Published on November 2, 2012

Money spent on treating oral health diseases exceeds cancer, heart disease, stroke and dementia

Money spent on treating oral health diseases exceeds cancer, heart disease, stroke and dementia

Shockingly, we spend an estimated 0.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) on treating oral health diseases, in comparison with other conditions including cancer. The most shocking part is that the majority of cases are preventable!

Preventative dentistry is often at the heart of debates surrounding dental care in the UK and across the world. Simple steps such as brushing twice daily, flossing and regular dental appointments can mean the difference between preventing an oral disease or developing one.

As Labour MP for Plymouth Alison Seabeck reiterates,

‘Expenditure on treatment for oral diseases often exceeds that for other diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke and dementia, yet the simple fact is that the causes of most oral diseases in the UK are preventable through cost-effective measures that would ultimately save the taxpayer money. Policy needs to be designed and implemented to improve research into oral health promotion.’

The new dental contract which is focused on prevention is a step in the right direction, helping both patients and the state save money on treating oral diseases.

Health minister Daniel Poulter comments: ‘The new dental contract makes it easier to identify key prevention issues. It focuses on the desirability of spotting early symptoms of ill health –in this instance, oral ill health – rather than spotting them much too late, when a patient’s cancer is already well advanced.’

Oral health is taken seriously in the UK but continual improvements are needed to ensure we are fighting oral diseases before they occur by looking after our teeth. Over the past 30-40 years oral health has improved vastly, proof of this is highlighted by comparisons from the first dental health survey in 1968 whereby 37% of adults in England & Wales had no remaining teeth, but in 2009 only 6% did.

Through prevention methods, expenditure on oral diseases can be significantly decreased – but do dentists have enough time and resources to carry out preventative dentistry for every patient? Let us know what you think by commenting below or tweeting @stockdalemartin.

Have your say!

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