Between them, Crookfur Dental Practice and Mearns Cross Dental Practice are part of Clyde Munro Dental Group’s target of treating at least 1000 children with a fluoride varnish (FV) application in dedicated out of hours clinics by the close of 2022.
Typically offered up to twice a year, the pandemic-induced backlog means it is not currently as readily available to families under NHS services.
The pledge comes after worrying statistics showed that 850,000 fewer patients had been seen in the past two years compared to 2017-2019. In children’s services just 55 per cent of children in the most deprived areas have seen a dentist.
The latest data show that primary school children from the most deprived communities experience more than four times the level of tooth decay compared to children in the least deprived areas.
These stark and persistent inequalities have widened as a result of the pandemic, with the collapse in access to routine services, the suspension of public health programmes and the impact of sugar-rich lockdown diets.
Tooth decay in children is a major health problem in the UK – and despite being entirely preventable is one of the most common reasons for hospital admission in children.
Jacqui Frederick is group clinical director at Clyde Munro and one of the group’s dentists to have helped more than 100 young patients access FV treatment in 2021, since Clyde Munro started the children’s clinics in the last quarter of last year.
She said: “We’re a predominantly NHS-based group and we take our responsibility as Scotland’s biggest dental group seriously.
“As you might imagine, our dentists are deeply concerned at falling numbers of young patients accessing NHS dentistry services. The pandemic has set back the oral health of so many people and we want to be a part of the fightback.
“We wish we didn’t have to volunteer time out of hours to get this done – but in doing so we can reach out to those in need, any concerned parents or guardians can contact their nearest Clyde Munro practice to enquire about FV clinics.”