The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from H Williams & Associates Dental Care is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
H Williams & Associates Dental Care
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
36 | H WILLIAMS & ASSOCIATES DENTAL CARE
A specialist at work
Based in Orpington, H Williams and Associates is an award-
winning dental practice which offers the best treatments
at the highest standards. Founded in 1992, and now with
eight award winning dentists in-house, it has won multiple
prizes for excellence in investment in people. Owner of the
practice, Heather Williams explains what sets her practice apart,
before discussing the importance of bridging the dental hygiene
gap between society’s richest and poorest.
Having clean teeth is a vital part of life. It means no decay, no gum disease and
fresh breath. Your mouth says a thousand words before you even speak. A healthy
smile makes a huge difference to social interaction in both your own confidence
and in how others perceive you. Those with poor teeth will also commonly
experience pain or discomfort. Despite these facts, tooth decay and gum disease
remain highly prevalent problems in the UK that the NHS spends millions of pounds
every year to repair.
The tragedy is that these diseases are entirely preventable, a fact that I strive to
remind my patients of. I recommend all my patients use an electric toothbrush,
interdental brushes and an enamel strengthening fluoride toothpaste. Regular visits
to the hygienist every three to six months are also essential because the hygienist
can remove plaque, calculus and bacteria from areas of the mouth that are difficult
to reach. The mission statement of H Williams and Associates is for all patients to
have clean, white, straight and healthy teeth, which we are determined to help
them keep for life. To achieve this, I have meticulously chosen my team for their
skill, integrity, warmth and kindness.
H WILLIAMS & ASSOCIATES
»Founded in 1997
»Based in Petts Wood,
»Services: General dentistry,
hygiene and periodontal
treatment, cosmetic dentistry,
invisalign, whitening, sedation
and nervous patient care and
»No. of employees: 26
H Williams & Associates
37H WILLIAMS & ASSOCIATES DENTAL CARE |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
I have found that the old saying of
prevention being the best and most
cost-effective medicine rings true.
Patients who look after their teeth
are much more likely to maintain
healthy teeth, gums and smiles. At
my practice, we also employ longer
term methods of prevention, such as
tooth straightening. This treatment
may only appear to be for cosmetic
reasons, but this is not true. Misaligned
teeth cause an uneven bite, and over
time certain teeth wear and erode
quicker than others, which puts them
at greater risk of decay. Patients with
misaligned teeth may also face greater
difficulty in cleaning them as plaque
can build up in areas that traditional
cleaning methods won’t reach. The
technology for straightening teeth
has improved greatly and any person
at any age can have this treatment.
Another cosmetic treatment that we
offer, tooth whitening, may even
have additional practical, long term
benefits. This is a quick, simple way
of improving a patient’s smile without
complex procedures and can increase
the chance that a patient will take a
greater pride in the care of their teeth.
The benefits of these approaches
are not purely associated with the
mouth either, as research has shown a
correlation between good dental health
and a reduced risk of heart disease,
diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Failure to
look after teeth also causes problems
such as bad breath, bleeding gums
and eventually loss of teeth. This is also
the point at which dental care starts
to become expensive. Throughout the
process of tooth decay, debilitating
pain is a common factor which will
only worsen until death of the tooth.
Once a tooth has died, the cheapest
method of treatment is to extract it,
which solves the immediate problem
but leaves a gap in its place. This can
be filled by a denture but these can be
uncomfortable and affect the person’s
ability to speak and taste. Titanium
implants and root treatment are more
effective but expensive options that
require specialist equipment and a
large amount of clinical time.
the NHS an
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
38 | H WILLIAMS & ASSOCIATES DENTAL CARE
Inequality in oral health
The good news is that it is never too late
to start working towards good dental
health, however, barriers can exist that
prevent people from doing this. One of
these is a fear of the dentist based on
bad past experiences or preconceived
notions. My practice puts patients at
the heart of everything we do with
the aim of assuaging these potential
concerns. Another is cost; H Williams
and Associates is a private practice
and our patients have the resources to
prioritise their dental health. However,
not everyone can do this.
Dental cavities are overrepresented
among children in low-income families,
living in deprived areas and from
ethnic minority groups. National data
shows that 12 per cent of three-year-
olds in England had tooth decay and
almost a quarter of five-year-olds had
tooth decay. The number of children
admitted for extractions of teeth
due to dental cavities under general
anaesthetic is increasing year on year,
as is the average number of teeth
removed. 42,911 children under 18
years of age were admitted to hospital
for teeth extractions in England in the
year ending March 2017. The cost of
these operations in that year alone
was estimated at £36 million. As well
as the pain and trauma experienced,
the amount of education missed due
to these problems will only widen the
opportunity gap that children from
disadvantaged groups face.
Health inequalities between
socioeconomic groups can be
exacerbated by poor access to dental
hygiene in several ways. Strong teeth
play a major part in being able to
eat foods that are high in nutrition.
Individuals with poor dental health
may become trapped in a positive
feedback loop where they are unable
to maintain a healthy diet, which in
turn can cause further issues with
their teeth and overall wellbeing.
Gum disease has been linked to many
chronic inflammatory conditions, such
as diabetes, cardiovascular disease
and dementia, which are also more
prevalent in deprived communities.
As previously stated, prevention is key
for optimum dental health. At the
micro level, this means placing the
patient at the heart of treatment to
ensure that they are equipped with
the everyday tools to maintain good
dental hygiene. At the macro level,
Public Health England presented strong
evidence in their 2018 report that
water fluoridation is an effective and
safe method to reduce tooth decay,
especially in deprived communities.
The chances of having teeth removed
due to decay were much lower in
areas with water fluoridation. Despite
these clear benefits, only ten per
cent of the UK population receives
optimally fluoridated water. This is
due to complex local arrangements
which place a heavy burden both on
local authorities and on residents.
Local authorities are not incentivised
to invest in this process, and as they
do not contribute to NHS dental
treatment, they receive no savings
directly themselves. I therefore strongly
urge the government to consider
taking a national approach to water
fluoridation to ensure that all can have
cleaner, healthier teeth.
It is never too
late to start
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.