MP for Cities of London and Westminster, Rt Hon Mark Field, visited a London dental practice to expand his understanding of the importance of children’s oral health.
Visiting Bupa Dental Care in Bank, Mark met with practice staff including dentists and hygienists, as well as Bupa UK CEO, David Hynam, and Bupa Dental Care General Manager, Gabriela Pueyo.
The latest figures from the NHS show that over 45,000 under-18s were admitted to hospital in England for tooth extractions in 2017-18. However, the leading causes for dental diseases – such as diet and poor oral care – are entirely preventable.
To help tackle the issue, Bupa practices across the UK are partnering with local schools to help children and parents understand the importance of good oral health.
The team at the Bank practice have developed a strong relationship with Culloden Academy in London, where they have run oral health workshops for over 200 nursery and reception age children. These sessions involve the use of dental toys and equipment to promote toothbrushing and a balanced, healthy diet.
Bupa Dental Care also take part in the Smile4life initiative which involves providing treatment to an additional four children under the age of two each year. A key part of the Smile4life initiative is the Starting Well scheme, which aims to encourage young children in areas with the poorest oral health to visit their local surgery more frequently.
Speaking on the visit, Rt Hon Mark Field MP said: “It was a pleasure to visit the Bupa Dental Care London Bank located in my constituency to meet some of the leading lights from the organisation.
“Over the course of my adult life I probably have not visited the dentist as much as I should have, but I am keen that my children do much better than me. As such my visit was a fascinating insight into the great work Bupa and its staff do in promoting good child oral health at their surgeries, out in community and with the government through initiatives such as Smile4life and Starting Well."
Gabriela Pueyo, General Manager for Bupa Dental Care, added: “There’s a clear need for education around the importance of oral health, and if we can reach younger generations now, we’ll be helping reduce extractions in the short and long-term. Given the seriousness of the issue, it’s great to see MPs like Mark making a conscious effort to learn more, and it was a pleasure to welcome him to our practice.”
In addition to his role as an MP, Mark is also Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. As such he also took time to meet with Taryn McHarg, Commercial Director for Bupa International Markets, to discuss the company’s wider work in the region – in particular in providing healthcare in China and Saudi Arabia.
Reflecting on the conversation, Mark added: “As Minister for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, it is always great to meet businesses based in the UK who are looking to expand in the region and, certainly in Bupa’s case, making a real difference to the health and wellbeing to people young and old.”
Bupa Dental Care in Bank is a modern practice in central London. The practice has 13 surgeries and employs a team of 46, including 18 dentists.