HC Deb 18 June 1974 vol 875 cc190-1
10. Mr. Moonman

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what research has been undertaken to assess the scale of periodontal disease; and if she is acquainted with current American experience and research on the matter.

Dr. Owen

Assessments of the scale of periodontal disease were included in the Adult Dental Health Survey undertaken in England and Wales in 1968 and in Scotland in 1972, and in the Child Dental Health Survey in England and Wales, undertaken in 1973. I am aware of research into the disease published in America and elsewhere.

Mr. Moonman

The figures and the risks involved in this disease are staggering. I appreciate my hon. Friend's statement, but will he take into account the fact that the population over the age of 40 is very vulnerable to this disease? That is especially so when people have lost one tooth or several teeth. Will my hon. Friend consider giving selective grants to dentists, who might produce some results from local inquiries and sort out some of the ways in which this disease can be dealt with?

Dr. Owen

I share my hon. Friend's concern. Over 80 per cent. of people who still have some natural teeth show some form of periodontal or gum disease, which is obviously at a minor stage; but if left unchecked it can lead to loosening and loss of teeth. We are discussing presently with the British Dental Association and other dental bodies the whole question of a policy for dental hygiene and care.