When Good News Is Really Bad News
Normally, a 58% decrease in the number of children’s teeth being extracted in a country would be a statistic to celebrate. However, dental health leaders in England recognize that the significant drop in extractions in back-to-back years is largely due to to delayed dental treatment during the pandemic.
Dental leaders are urging a greater need for prevention, especially while this backlog of untreated decay is being addressed. In a recent statement, the Faculty of Dental Surgeons (FDS) at England’s Royal College of Surgeons cited community water fluoridation as one of the strategies that the nation should embrace.
In this statement, Dr. Charlotte Eckhardt, Vice Dean of the FDS, said the nation’s backlog in treatment needs “could take years to clear” and called for a renewed effort to prevent decay. This includes promoting healthier diets and expanding supervised toothbrushing programs for children. “Equally,” Dr. Eckhardt wrote, “it is important that we quickly expand water fluoridation schemes across England. This is a matter of health equality too.”
As the FDS statement pointed out, the region of England with the lowest rate of children’s tooth extractions — the West Midlands — provides fluoridated water to a significant portion of its residents.