British dental care crisis worsens

It seems strange that a wealthy Western country with a national health service would encounter a care shortfall, but according to an open letter signed by over 400 national health service dentists, Britain will soon face a "national health disaster" in the dental sphere.

In the letter, dentists highlight the targets set by the NHS as unrealistic, saying that "red tape" and procedure quotas were critically impairing their ability to focus on preventing caries. One out of every six communities in the UK has no NHS dentist taking new patients, and a full third of UK adults have tooth decay, something the letter deemed "an international disgrace," while dentists feel that they cannot provide basic services for a full half of the population every year.

Underscoring the situation is the number of charity dental groups opening aid events throughout the country. Aid organizations such as Dentaid, and US-based Remote Area Medical, have begun programs across the UK to address the shortfall. Part of the outcry is centered on the fact that these organizations are more accustomed to working in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and other areas of extreme poverty. Critics argue that by being needed in the UK, lawmakers are essentially taking care away from people in the poorest areas of the world.

Among the various bureaucratic causes leading to the care shortfall, the letter states that the problem has been "compounded by watered-down obesity and sugar-tax policies." The UK struggles with early childhood caries and obesity just as the US does, and the strain put on an already-overtaxed system appears to be coming to a head.

Sources:
Laura Donnelly. (2018). Dental crisis leaves Britain reliant on charity from the developing world. The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 January 2018, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/02/dental-crisis-leaves-britain-reliant-charity-developing-world/

Britain's dental crisis is forcing charities to step in. (2018). Mail Online. Retrieved 10 January 2018, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5228483/Britains-dental-crisis...

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