Frontier’s latest independent report commissioned by the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programme, explores the economic value of good oral health - its benefits to individuals and the NHS.
The World Health Organisation has said that "oral health is a key indicator of overall health, well-being and quality of life." Poor oral health is exacerbated when individuals don’t regularly visit the dentist. Despite NHS England spending around £2.3 billion on dentistry each year, people in many areas do not have access to a local NHS dentist, creating so-called ‘dental deserts’ across the country.
Exacerbating this, the Covid-19 pandemic led to many dental appointments being cancelled, creating a significant backlog of patients. Around half of patients haven’t seen a dental professional for at least 18 months.
In our report, we consider and describe several interventions, such as water fluoridation, sugarfree gum and supervised brushing, which illustrate the potential for improving oral health through prevention. Our findings suggest these interventions could play a valuable role in improving the oral health of the population, particularly at a time when NHS dental services are under pressure.
We also have modelled the financial benefits to individuals and the NHS from these interventions and estimate the potential dental cost savings, due to a reduction in tooth decay and associated costs of NHS dental treatment.
We recommend that stakeholders – Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, local authorities, and dental practitioners across the country – consider placing a greater focus on preventative oral health interventions as part of a wider strategy to tackle the challenges in dentistry.
Please click here to read the full report.
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