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Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) responds to Liberal Democrats' research on children’s dental surgery

20 Jul 2023

Commenting on the Liberal Democrats’ research on children’s dental surgery, Dr Charlotte Eckhardt, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:

“We welcome the recovery of dental services after the pandemic and congratulate the community for their hard work. However, if children are waiting over a year in pain to have rotten teeth removed, there clearly remains some very worrying access issues, which the Government needs to address.

“Alongside improving access, we need a greater focus on prevention. It is shameful that removing teeth rotted by preventable tooth decay is consistently the main reason children are admitted to hospital and is a clear indicator of health inequalities.

“Tooth decay can be avoided through reduced sugar consumption, regular tooth brushing and visits to the dentist. In view of the damage done to children’s teeth in recent years, support for supervised tooth-brushing - programmes in schools and nurseries - is now urgent.   

“The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England strongly supports the development of new fluoridation schemes. It is particularly key for reducing health inequalities. The areas with the lowest rates of children’s tooth extractions have water fluoridation schemes. If all five-year-olds in England drank fluoridated water, we would see much less tooth decay - 17% less in wealthy areas and 28% less in the most deprived areas. It is important that we quickly expand water fluoridation schemes across England.”


Notes to editors:

  • Water fluoridation health monitoring report 2022 (
  • Statistics on the impact of water fluoridation schemes on children’s health can be found here:,in%20the%20most%20deprived%20areas.
  • In 2021/22, the cost to the NHS of hospital tooth extractions in 0 to 19-year-olds was estimated to be £81 million for all tooth extractions and £51 million for decay-related extractions. By implementing a coherent prevention strategy that includes supervised tooth brushing schemes, community water fluoridation and sugar reduction, millions could be diverted to improve access to dentistry.
  • The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England is an independent professional body committed to helping the entire dental team achieve and maintain excellence in practice and patient care. It provides world-class courses and its qualifications are internationally recognised, including its new Membership of The Faculty of Dental Surgery (MFDS) examination.
  • The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS England) provides world-class education, assessment, and development to 30,000 surgeons, dental professionals, and wider surgical and dental care teams at all stages of their careers. Our vision is to see excellent surgical care for everyone. We do this by setting professional standards, facilitating research, and championing the best outcomes for patients.
  • For more information, please contact the Press Office: Telephone: 020 7869 6053/6054/6047; Email:; Out-of-hours media enquiries: 0207 869 6056.



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