BDA staff and representatives met with Jim Shannon MP for Strangford on Friday 5 January in Belfast.
Jim Shannon is currently the DUP Spokesperson on Health. He spoke favourably on the need to do more around prevention, on sugar, and addressing dental health inequalities at the House of Commons debate on children's oral health which took place on 31 October 2017.
Following on from this debate representatives from the Hospital and Community Dental Services and BDA staff met with Mr Shannon to share the stories behind the statistics, discuss oral health outcomes locally and the need for an updated Oral Health Strategy for Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland has some of the highest rates of child dental decay in the UK and extraction of teeth under general anesthetic in under-18s was the number one reason for hospital admissions in Northern Ireland in 2016-2017.
The meeting provided the opportunity to paint a realistic picture of life in dental practice and inform Mr Shannon of the oral health problems faced by children and young people in Northern Ireland. It also helped to reinforce the need to keep dentists and their patients on the agenda locally and nationally and to work towards a new oral health strategy for Northern Ireland with efforts to improve child oral health outcomes at its core.
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