The Telegraph & Argus’s Stop the Rot campaign was brought into the national spotlight today when it was highlighted in Parliament.

The significant milestone came on World Oral Health Day and just weeks after the launch of the campaign, which is fighting for improved access to NHS dentistry and to boost awareness around oral health.

Bradford South MP Judith Cummins, who is supporting the campaign, pressed for answers on what the Government is doing to improve prevention in children’s oral health.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mrs Cummins said: “My local paper the Bradford Telegraph & Argus has recently launched its Stop the Rot campaign as children in Bradford have some of the worst dental health outcomes of anywhere in the country.

“Does the Minister agree that prevention is key to improving children’s dental health and can he tell us what steps the government is taking to ensure that prevention is a key element in any new dental contract?”

Steve Brine, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care, whose brief includes health protection and improvement, replied: “I think that would be the brilliant Bradford Telegraph & Argus, Mr Speaker.

“As I’ve already said, 75 dental practices are continuing to test the preventative focus clinical approach, alongside the new remuneration system which supports the increased focus on prevention through the new dental contract. I know it’s taking time but I want to get it right.”

Tracy Brabin, the MP for Batley and Spen, also shone a spotlight on the problems her constituents face when it comes NHS dentistry.

Speaking in the same debate, she said: “Does the Minister agree with me that the system of penalising dentists for not hitting targets while not paying them if they exceed the targets has led to a situation where there is virtually no NHS dentists available to my young constituents. What steps will he take to make more places available?”

Mr Brine replied that NHS England is finalising arrangements for extra funding in her area to offer “additional access and additional places” and asked MPs to “stand by their phones” for news.

Philip Davies, the Conservative MP for Shipley said Ms Brabin was “absolutely right”, adding: “The government have long acknowledged that there’s a shortage of dentists in West Yorkshire, but in the Bradford district in particular, where the shortage is pretty chronic.” He asked what the government is doing to make sure there is an “acceptable level” of NHS dentists in the Bradford district.

Mr Brine said it was a local decision for the NHS in Yorkshire and the Humber, but that the 13 ‘Starting Well’ high-priority areas, which Bradford is not included in, were selected nationally based on overall need using a wide range of data, including access to NHS dental services.

It comes less than a week after Chancellor Philip Hammond told the Telegraph & Argus while visiting Bradford: “I know there has been an issue in this area about dentistry.

“I am sure the NHS commissioners will be making necessary arrangements for the appropriate supply of dentistry here.”

Meanwhile, Mrs Cummins recently chaired a meeting of top dental experts in Westminster, which looked at ways of tackling tooth decay.

She highlighted the poor state of oral health among children in Bradford, as well as the Stop the Rot campaign.

The British Dental Association (BDA) is calling for a dental contract which puts prevention first and says activity targets - called UDAs - are bad for both patients and dentists.

BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said: “Patients and dentists will can take comfort that this vital campaign is being heard at Westminster.”