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Cuts jeopardise dental care

Budget cuts are seriously threatening the dental health of adults and children with special needs, says a report published today. Dentists called on the Government to restore funding for the "safety-net" service that is meant to help people unable to use a normal general dental practitioner.

A survey of hospital-based community dentists found more than half those questioned said their budget had been cut since 1994.

The Community Dental Service (CDS) provides dental care for people with special needs, like those with learning difficulties, the elderly, disabled and terminally ill. It provides school screening and dental health promotion and education.

The BDA survey showed one in five community dentists believed cuts were affecting the dental care of those with mental health problems. One in four thought the dental care of patients with learning difficulties was being compromised and more than a third said their trust had closed community health surgeries.

A total of 112 community health service dentists from 200 trusts throughout the UK took part in the BDA survey.