DT News - International - BDA warns against restricting dental visits to once every two years

Search Dental Tribune

BDA warns against restricting dental visits to once every two years

BDA Scotland has cautioned against attending dental check-ups only once every two years, as it may negatively impact the ability of dentists to detect oral cancers at an early stage. (Photograph: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock)

Tue. 20. November 2018


STIRLING, UK: A recent survey conducted by the British Dental Association (BDA) has found that a Scottish government initiative to potentially extend the time between dental appointments to 24 months has caused concern among Scottish dentists regarding possible delayed diagnosis of oral cancer.

Earlier this year, the Scottish government launched the Oral Health Improvement Plan, which outlines, among other things, a focus on improving prevention, reducing oral health inequalities, and meeting the needs of an ageing population. Though the BDA welcomed these ambitions, it expressed dismay that the plan recommends that certain patients with good oral health should only attend dental check-ups once every two years. A subsequent BDA survey of Scottish dentists found that 97 per cent of respondents are concerned that these extensions of recall intervals could undermine the detection of oral cancers, which 77 per cent regarded as a major or severe risk.

Scotland has seen a 37 per cent increase in oral cancer deaths over the past decade, and incidence rates are among the highest in Europe. Though it is primarily caused by smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and human papillomavirus infections, oral cancer can also occur in individuals leading generally healthy lifestyles. Given that survival rates for oral cancer improve from 50 per cent to 90 per cent with early detection, regular check-ups are essential.

Dr David Cross, Vice Chair of the BDA’s Scottish Council, said: “Dentists are on the front line of a battle against some the fastest rising cancers in Scotland. Early detection is key, but now risks becoming a casualty of a cost-cutting exercise.”

“People in otherwise good health are succumbing to this disease. Telling our ‘lower risk’ patients to come back in two years will only handicap efforts to meet a growing threat, while putting further pressure on NHS cancer services,” he continued.

“Oral cancer now claims three times as many lives in Scotland as car accidents. Rather than chasing quick savings we need to see concrete plans and real investment to help turn the tables on this devastating but preventable disease,” Cross advised.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *