A Leicestershire County councillor spoke at a national party conference to highlight the lack of access to NHS dentistry locally and the knock on effect on peoples health.
Speaking at the national Liberal Democrat conference in York leader of Leicestershire Lib Dem County Councillors Michael Mullaney said
"The lack of access to NHS dentists and the cost of private dentistry is an issue that concerns so many people I speak to in Hinckley and Bosworth.
"I'm glad therefore that the Liberal Democrats are highlighting the issue so publicly at our national conference calling for action to ensure people have access affordable dental care.
"In Leicestershire we have the appalling situation where no dentists are taking on new adult NHS patients. Dental treatment is costly and at a time when people are worried about how to pay the spiralling fuel bills, to pay soaring mortgage and rent costs and food bills it's no surprise many just can't afford dentistry. And this leads to that modern horror, diy dentistry where far too many people whose lives are clouded with dental pain decide to take action. But it's action without professional help or anaesthetic but with a pair of pliers.
"It's not just DIY dentistry though. Rates of mouth cancer have risen by a third in the last ten years and doubled in the last twenty. Meanwhile survival rates for mouth cancer have hardly improved In the last 20 years and one of the main reasons is late diagnosis.
"More than half of mouth cancers are only found at stage 4 the most advanced stage of cancer. Lack of dental appointments is contributing to this lack of early diagnosis. Meaning more people sadly getting mouth cancer and putting more strain on the NHS
"For their good health people need easier access to affordable dental care. Thank goodness we as a party are setting out positive proposals to help solve the dental crisis. Reforming and increasing funding for dental care to encourage dentists to take on more NHS patients. Increase the number of dentist training places to increase the number of dentists in future.
"People must have access to healthcare including dental care as a basic human right. Too many are not getting the affordable dental care they need and that must change."