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News / May 28, 2021

Progressing and promoting children’s dental health in Ireland

by Siobhan Lucey

children dental healthIrish Dentistry catches up with Siobhan Lucey and Aoibheann Wall from the Irish Society of Dentistry for Children.

Tell us more about the Irish Society of Dentistry for Children – when and why was it founded?

The Irish Society of Dentistry for Children (ISDC) was established in 1961 to further the oral health of children. This society is dedicated to promoting good oral health among children and teenagers in Ireland.

We believe in the prevention of oral disease and the development of a positive attitude towards oral health in our young population.

Who can join the society – and how?

Individuals with an interest in children’s oral health and currently working in Ireland are welcome to join.

Joining is very easy, just go to our website at and click ‘Join’, it’s on the right of our homepage!

Why do you think dental professionals should join the society?

If you would like to connect with a national network of oral healthcare professionals who are passionate about the oral health and wellbeing of children in Ireland, then the ISDC is for you.

Membership benefits include the option to attend our annual conference, with potential to meet like-minded colleagues, as well as keeping abreast regarding issues of relevance to children’s dentistry. Members also get access to hands-on courses that are held periodically.

The ISDC is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year – how did the society mark the occasion?

We held our annual conference online! We hoped for a traditional style meeting, but we put lots of effort into making it a memorable conference.

The original ISDC committee in 1971

Who spoke, and what topics did they explore, at the annual conference in May?

We had an interesting talk from Dr Isabel Olegário, assistant professor in paediatric dentistry at Dublin Dental University Hospital, she drew attention from the delegates on minimally invasive children’s dentistry.

In addition, we had Dr Martin Foster. He is a paediatric dental specialist and head of Dental Protection’s services in Ireland. He spoke about topics of dentolegal relevance.

What do you hope delegates took away from this year’s conference?

We hope that the delegates will glean an awareness of the impact of COVID-19 on children’s health. We also hope that they learnt some practical tips to apply in clinical practice and have an opportunity to reflect on 50 years of ISDC history.

Will the O’Mullane Prize be taking place this year?

Yes! We very much look forward to seeing the submitted entries! It will be in a slightly different format this year, being online, but we eagerly await submissions from our dental colleagues in Ireland.

How has the pandemic changed this year’s conference?

It definitely has created opportunities for us to think laterally in how to mark this milestone for the ISDC.

How have COVID-19 restrictions affected children’s dental health in Ireland?

It is yet too early to understand the true impact of the pandemic on the children’s oral health. However, evidence is now emerging that there seems to have been differences in children’s oral hygiene and dietary routines over the past year. Additionally, at times there was reduced access to dental services.

What challenges do Ireland face over the dental health of children as a result? What needs to be done to address these challenges?

Like other healthcare services, access to oral healthcare providers was limited at times. As of now, we are yet to see the full impact of these challenges. However, the dental profession is resilient and always keep patients and their families at the forefront of care.

This article first appeared in Irish Dentistry magazine. You can read the latest issue here.