Conservative Dentists (CD) was recently launched at a sold-out event entitled ‘Prevention is better than Cure’, at the Palace of Westminster. There will be little disagreement that there is a lack of representation for dentists within all the political parties and Conservative Dentists was set up to combat this. The aims of the organisation are to form a bridge between the dental and political worlds thereby improving dialogue between the two and helping to influence policy.
The audience was diverse and varied, with representation from the British Dental Association (BDA), British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD), Public Health England and others and members were given the opportunity to question a panel which included the Minister for Dentistry Jo Churchill, the Chief Dental Officer (CDO) Sara Hurley, and MPs in the room, and raise the issues they were concerned about within dentistry. The discussion quickly jumped to water fluoridation and Jo Churchill, Sara Hurley and Sir Paul Beresford MP (the only practising dentist who is also an MP) made a plea for dentists to back fluoridation with the room being in consensus. Sir Paul recently made a parliamentary intervention stating that community water fluoridation is a well discussed public health tool and that ‘at the moment there’s an atmosphere that we can push through water fluoridation in this government. We have a unique opportunity, let’s grab it’.
Jo Churchill said: ‘Water fluoridation is the quickest and easiest way to improve our oral health, but we would really like [the dental profession’s] help; we need dentists to talk to their patients about the benefits of water fluoridation. We need to move the dial, so the next generation can benefit from great oral health.’
To take the momentum within the room forward attendees were asked to give feedback on the state of dentistry in the UK and what policy ideas should be implemented to improve the provision of dental care. This will be collated and a report presented to the CDO and the Minister for Dentistry with future events planned accordingly. If you would like to get involved or join Conservative Dentists please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This report was written by Sejal Bhansali, Chair and Founder of CD.
*Original article online at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41415-020-1470-5