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Sir, I refer to the article Dentists urged to see preschool children (BDJ–2017;223: 389). The article discusses the new BSPD 'Dental Check by One (DCby1)' campaign designed to get children seeing a dentist before their first birthday.
Recently the media has highlighted the issue 'that 80% of children aged between one and two did not visit an NHS dentist in 2016–17'.1 The Faculty of Dental Surgery feels that there is a 'widespread misunderstanding among parents, and even health professionals'2 as to when to first bring a child for a dental appointment and advise that children should be seen as soon as their first tooth appears, at roughly six months of age. The new DCby1 campaign encourages the attendance of children under 12 months which will allow dental professionals to build positive experiences of dentistry, as well as deliver early detection and treatment of oral disease. However, with only '51.5% of the adult population'3 and '58.2% of the child population'3 seeing an NHS dentist from March 2016 – March 2017, I believe that to improve the uptake of DCby1 we must use a multidisciplinary approach.
The BSPD has provided a logo for practices to display to indicate their participation in the scheme, but if the parents of the child are not regular attendees at a dental practice the opportunity to reach the target audience may be missed. With a multidisciplinary approach to improving knowledge of early years' dental care there are other opportunities to provide information to new parents. Parents may potentially join an NCT antenatal group and after birth, will receive close care from NHS midwives. Through both these services there is opportunity for improving parental education on dental care and dental visits. Providing information through non-dental avenues as well as dental avenues will lead to a widespread delivery of information and may reach parents who otherwise would not have knowledge of the campaign. This therefore helps spread awareness of the aims of the DCby1, consequently improving the uptake of the new campaign.
Campbell D . 80% of under-twos in England failed to visit the dentist last year, says study. The Guardian, 8 June 2017. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/08/80-of-under-twos-in-england-failed-to-visit-the-dentist-last-year-says-study (accessed October 2017).
Royal College of Surgeons of England. 80% of 1 to 2-year-olds didn't visit an NHS dentist last year. 8 June 2017. Available at: https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/news-and-events/media-centre/press-releases/toddler-dental-vist-story/ (accessed October 2017).
NHS Digital. NHS Dental Statistics for England - 2016-17, Third Quarterly Report. 25 May 2017. Available at: http://www.content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB24056 (accessed October 2017).
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Argent, V. Paediatric dentistry: A multidisciplinary approach. Br Dent J 223, 551 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2017.895