HC Deb 08 February 1965 vol 706 cc25-7
21. Sir J. Eden

asked the Minister of Health what steps he is taking to improve the co-ordination between his Department, the Ministry of Education and Science and the local education authorites in giving effective publicity to the urgent need for better dental health.

Mr. K. Robinson

There is already close co-ordination between the two Departments. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science is in frequent touch with local education authorities by various means, including regular visits by dental staff jointly employed by our Departments.

Sir J. Eden

Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that widespread education in the need for better dental care and dental hygiene is very important? In view of this, is it possible for him to lay down guide lines, in consultation with the Department of Education and Science, to indicate both the extent and content of the instruction desirable as a minimum to be given in schools?

Mr. Robinson

As the hon. Gentleman probably knows, we are considering the very far-reaching recommendations of the Report of the Cohen Committee on health education generally, which includes dental education. I will certainly bear in mind the suggestions the hon. Gentleman made.

Dr. David Kerr

Does my right hon. Friend recognise that the need for better dental health would be readily satisfied by an ambitious programme of fluoridation of water supplies, and will he undertake a programme of health education to convince the small vocal minority who maintain the opposite that they are quite wrong?

Mr. Robinson

As my hon. Friend knows, I am very anxious to see an extension of the fluoridation of water.

Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan

Would the right hon. Gentleman care to consider whether or not the banning of advertising of sweets on television might assist?

Hon. Members


22. Sir J. Eden

asked the Minister of Health if, in view of the savings in treatment costs which would result from better care of the teeth, he will increase from the present rate of £3,000 per annum the amount spent by his Department on centrally produced material designed to educate the public on the urgent need for better dental health.

Mr. K. Robinson

The Ministry is only one of several bodies producing material for use by local authorities, which have the main responsibility for dental health education, but I am considering what more can be done.

Sir J. Eden

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any indication of what more he thinks should be done? Would he answer the question put earlier by my right hon. Friend the Member for Reigate (Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan) and say whether, for example, he is considering taking advertising space to bring home to the community as a whole, and children in particular, the importance of greater dental care?

Mr. Robinson

These things will be considered, but I urge the hon. Gentleman to remember that we set up this Committee on health education. It sat for a long time and produced a very important Report. I must ask him to await the conclusions which we reach on the recommendations in that Report.

Mr. John Hall

If the right hon. Gentleman is going to consider the suggestion made to him by one of his hon. Friends to the effect that water should be medicated to prevent dental decay, will be bear in mind that one of the most widespread complaints from which this civilisation suffers is constipation and take that into account when considering the medication of water?

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