Build back better

24 August, 2022

Glasgow hosted the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry (BASCD) on the 9th and 10th of June 2022 for their summer scientific meeting. Welcoming the attendees was a warm and friendly organisation in BASCD, with a two-day programme on topics to: BUILD BACK BETTER. The conference intended to focus on how to improve the oral health of communities and reduce oral health inequalities following the impact of COVID19 through the actions of inclusion, integration, and innovation.

BASCD outgoing-president 2020-2022 Maria Morgan gave a heartfelt valedictory speech reflecting on her term of office. It gave the organisation the opportunity to express gratitude to her for steering BASCD through the challenges of uncertain times before Maria handed over the presidential medallion to BASCD President 2022-2023 Albert Yeung, consultant in Dental Public Health in NHS Lanarkshire. Albert hosted this conference with energy whilst delivering an important message: that we must not fear failure, we must aim beyond a zone of comfort to find these opportunities to build back better.

Outgoing BASCD President, Maria Morgan, and current BASCD president, Albert Yeung, NHS Lanarkshire Dental Public Health Consultant

Day one showcased inclusion, beginning with Professor Maggie Rae, president of the Faculty of Public Heath, agreeing the mouth is not separate from the body, and we must include oral health promotion alongside general health. Then to the inclusion of minority groups within the dental workforce, Nishma Sharma gave a rousing presentation citing we must do more to raise representation throughout the profession.

As chair of Diversity in Dentistry Action Group, she highlighted that promoting inclusion of diverse groups in the workforce is not only fair and just, but it can improve health outcomes for patients. This was a moment for the attendees to reflect on individual and organisation levels of allyship in the pursuit of inclusion.

Next up Scotland’s Deputy Chief Dental Officer (CDO) Gavin Mclellan spoke on the matter of inclusion of patients to necessary care, evidencing dental charges as a barrier to this. Psychology and Dental Public Health lecturer Andrea Rodriguez then explained to promote inclusion oral health we must look at the concepts of social exclusion, intersectionality, and othering. She promoted a fantastic comic created by Dundee Dental School as an alternative public engagement tool displaying what can be learned by sharing.

Glasgow’s Merchant House hosted the evening social programme of bagpipe music, dinner, Chinese dancing, highland dancing, and a ceilidh.

Presidential dinner, Merchant House, Selkirk Grace delivered by Grant Creaney, University of Glasgow Clinical Lecturer/Honorary StR Dental Public Health.

Returning for day two and we kick off with integration. Deputy CDO for England, Rebecca Harris, discussed going beyond building back better and looking at building back fairer. Welsh deputy CDO Warren Tolley detailed the integration of the Assessment of Clinical Oral Risks and Need (ACORN) within the primary dental service, presenting lessons from their ‘action learning year’. Catherine Rutland, clinical director of Simplyhealth, gave a message of integration from the private dental sector aiming to link with NHS general and dental services to improve patients’ health through integrated prevention and health promotion.

A new model of integrated dental education was presented by Asha Thomson MBE. The Assistant Dentist Integrated Care programme now going into its 3rd year in areas of unmet dental need has aided workforce recruitment, provided workforce satisfaction and experience, plus vitally increasing patient access to care. Rachel Jackson presented the integration of art to dental education. This was not just an opportunity for the attendees to be in awe of her own art and illustrations on show at the event but see art as a purpose of communication for both patients and students. Medical illustrations being objective present unique ways to visually understand scientific information. The Art in Dental Education programme in Aberdeen is also used to develop behaviour change outside of the clinical environment, with subjective art helping develop ethics and compassion in dental students as well as providing opportunity for reflection and well-being.

Asha Thomson MBE a former Glasgow Dental Hospital and School graduate, now Senior Leadership Fellow, speaking on day two at the historic 200SVS venue.

The afternoon moved to innovation where Simon Hearnshaw explained that ‘insanity is doing the same thing’ whilst innovation needs alternative action. Here he presented thinking outside the ‘UDA-box’ through a flexible commissioning model and use of skill mix, they found a solution to access, health promotion, and resources. Jo Dawson highlighted innovation can be created from one individual, setting up her own community interest company, Awesome Oral Health, to tackle wrong messaging of dried fruits provided in schools. Finishing with Moshan Ahmad and a programme of Healthy Living Dentistry, a framework focused on improving health and wellbeing through innovative collaboration across Greater Manchester Local Dental Network and general health services.

Throughout the two days weaved between these excellent speakers was the opportunity to view a variety of posters. BASCD is keen to encourage researchers in the field of population oral health. To support this, BASCD offers poster prizes which are the Roger Anderson Poster Prize and Oral Health Promotion Poster Prize which were awarded at this event. Congratulations to the deserved winners.

Winners of the Roger Anderson Poster Prize, left Niall McGoldrick Clinical Research Fellow Dundee Dental School, right Joelle Booth Dental Core Training Academic Clinical Fellow Queen Mary University.

For links and further details of the conference search twitter #BASCD2022

Fiona Andrews BDS (Glasg) MFDS RCSP (Glasg) is a Forth Valley General Dental Practitioner and QMUL Dental Public Health, Leadership and Policy MSc student.


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