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No jokes, please: A “Third World” dental charity has launched in Britain

Reuters/David Moir
He doesn’t believe it.
By Aamna Mohdin
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Brits are often teased for having bad teeth, but there may be some truth in this pop culture myth. A dental charity, which normally operates in developing countries, has now set up shop in England.

Dentaid, an international charity that usually provides care in Africa and Cambodia, has a new scheme called the “Real Junk Tooth Project” in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. And 400 dentists have signed a letter, published in The Daily Telegraph, suggest this is a clear example of the worsening situation that “charity groups normally associated with providing dental care in Third World arenas now have to do so in England.”

They describe British dental care as “unfit for purpose,” saying:

When more than 90% of all dental diseases can be prevented, it is also a national disgrace that children aged under 10 in England are still more likely to be treated in hospital for rotten teeth than for any other medical reason.

This is the third year that dental professionals have written such a letter, calling on health ministers to be “fully open and transparent about existing limitations.” The National Health Service denies these claims.

A national dental health survey released last year found signs of milk teeth decay in nearly half of eight-year-olds and a third of five-year-olds. The survey also reported teeth decay in 46% of 15-year-olds. Rates of teeth decay were found to be much higher in poorer, deprived families.

Perhaps those jibes about British teeth have some truth after all.

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