The absence of concern for the dental needs of children in the UK inspired the formation of the UK's first society dedicated to paediatric dentistry in 1952. Despite the advent of the NHS, most dentistry in post-war Britain as well as the teaching of dentistry was adult-focused. At the forefront of the move to give more attention to the oral health of children were three dentists: George Page, Leonard Morey and Peter James. Page and Morey had both gone to the United States after graduating in the UK to undertake higher training and subsequently met through the American Dental Society of London. Peter James came to the fore in the 1950s when epidemiology became important, especially for toothpaste trials. He was involved, with others, in studies of children's dental health and he stressed the need for prevention, including water fluoridation. Leonard Morey, George Page and Peter James met in London and formed the UK's first society dedicated to the study of children's dentistry. They were supported by Max Horsnell, whose name lives on today through the travel bursary he funded and which is awarded annually. This committed group grew into the British Paedodontic Society in 1968 which in turn became the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD).
There are around 700 members and membership of the Society is open to everyone interested in improving children's oral health.
The BSPD aims to raise standards in all areas of children's oral health, whether specialist provision in hospital and community clinics, research, teaching or general practice, giving voice to the oral healthcare needs of children and young people.
The chief benefits for members are educational. All members receive the BSPD's prestigious journal which is published jointly with the International Association of Paediatric Dentistry. The Society's branches are active and a popular annual conference is held. Research to develop the evidence base for paediatric dentistry is fostered by a dedicated committee: The Quality Improvement and Research Committee.
The BSPD considers its members to be itsgreatest achievement, some known around the world for groundbreaking research, and BSPD is very proud of co-owning an international journal. In recent years BSPD has been responsible for some admirable innovations, including the creation of the profession's Safeguarding guidance by Jenny Harris; the formation - in partnership with the Office of the Chief Dental Officer for England - of the Dental Check by One campaign; the launch of Mini Mouth Care Matters; and the creation of the Outstanding Innovation Award. BSPD is very proud to be a specialist society which welcomes all General Dental Council registrants as full members.
BSPD has a very busy agenda in the next few years. It will continue to:
Address the shortage of specialists in paediatric dentistry
Use its voice to speak and act on behalf of children and their oral health needs
Build on the Dental Check by One campaign
Promote prevention in the philosophy of UK dental practice
Support the development and dissemination of evidence-based advice on issues relating to the oral health needs of children and young people
Work towards a specialty which is proudly diverse and inclusive.
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The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry. Br Dent J 229, 333 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-020-2193-3