HC Deb 19 June 1974 vol 875 cc179-80W
Mr. Redmond

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what recommendations she makes about encouraging an adequately high standard of dental hygiene amongst schoolchildren.

Dr. Owen

A high level of dental hygiene is advocated in all programmes of dental health education, the importance of which is stressed in joint circulars issued by my Department and the Education Department to local authorities in 1962 and 1966. The need for continued close liaison between health and education authorities in the field of child health and health education is emphasised in circulars issued this year to the new area health authorities and copied to local education authorities.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if dentists are permitted to carry out any of the following methods of preventive dentistry for children as a free part of the National Health Service (1) topical fluoride application, (2) fissure sealants, and (3) prescription of fluoride tablets or fluoride mouth washes.

Dr. Owen

Reports of benefits from some of these preventive measures vary considerably and do not on present evidence warrant the diversion from other forms of treatment of the resources that would be needed to make them freely available to children in the general dental services. My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales and I are at present considering a recommendation from the Working Party on the Dental Services that fluoride tablets and fluoride mouthwashes should be provided for schoolchildren.