Keeping healthy for longer with NHS care

2nd August 2019 | Posted by: Vanessa Giraud

People dreamed of living longer, and now that’s a reality. But what we need to do to enjoy our increased life span is to live in good health. As we are living longer, we need to be keeping healthy for longer – not just with NHS care, but with the care we invest in our own and our family’s well-being.

“Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s” is a green paper from the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health and Social Care. These departments are gathering feedback on “proposals to help people live healthier, happier lives for longer”.

smiling child close up keeping healthy teeth for longerPublic health interventions make a difference

Campaigns to reduce smoking, for example, have brought about a significant decrease in the number of people smoking. Although 14% of the adult population still use tobacco products, the UK has the lowest rate of adult smokers in Europe.* Proof, if it’s needed, that education and legislation together can turn around behaviour that is detrimental to our good health.

Three of the current concerns that Public Health England raises awareness of are:

Living a healthier life for longer

The green paper clearly articulates an important point about the increasingly long life-spans we can expect to have these days. The truth is that as we live longer, we may also be living more years with poor health. Therefore, strategies are necessary to help us enjoy a healthier life for longer, not just a longer life. And while there may be genetic factors that affect our health and cannot be changed, ill-health is often a result of the life-style choices we make.

To address the needs of society now, the focus of health care is expanding. In the past, treating disease was the priority. Now preventing disease or ill health is a driving force.

Building the foundations of life-long oral health

“Tooth decay is the most common oral disease affecting children and young people in England, yet it is largely preventable.

While 77% of 5 year old children in England are now free of obvious tooth decay, significant regional inequalities remain – with children from the most deprived areas having more than twice the level of decay, than those from the least deprived.

Almost 9 out of 10 hospital tooth extractions among children aged 0 to 5 years are due to preventable tooth decay and tooth extraction is still the most common hospital procedure in 6 to 10 year olds, according to PHE data up to 2019. ” **

Public Health England: Child Oral Health – Applying All our Health


Dental teams are focused on preventive care. We encourage parents to bring children to the dentist before they have their first birthday. The best time for a first appointment is when baby’s first tooth has erupted, but there’s no reason you can’t bring baby into the surgery sooner.

During a systematic review, the dentist looks for signs of decay, asks questions about diet, and considers the risk of developing caries. the dentist can offer tailored treatments, such as fluoride varnishing, and advice about healthy eating too. Most importantly, the dentist can tell if home oral hygiene procedures are adequate or not, and offer advice.

Education for keeping healthy teeth for life

Dental checks and treatments for children are paid for by the NHS, at no cost to the family.

Yet a dentist can only help children who are brought to appointments at the surgery.  If you are caring for a baby or child, we urge you to take them to a dentist regularly.

SpaDental believes that educating children is fundamental to preventive care. Our outreach teams in Devon, Shropshire and Somerset have visited local primary schools and nurseries to teach children the value and benefits of regular brushing. The team also stresses the importance of regular visits to the dentist.

The four SpaDental practices registering children as new NHS patients are:

Please get in touch

While adults need to be added to an NHS waiting list, children can be registered directly. All a parent or guardian needs to do is get in touch to book an appointment for their baby, child or teenager (under 18).



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