THE new NHS 10-year plan has been criticised for failing to present a "coherent strategy" for dental services.

Both the British Dental Association (BDA) and Bradford South MP Judith Cummins, who has been involved in the Telegraph & Argus's Stop the Rot campaign, have hit out at the plan, which was announced earlier this week.

Theresa May hailed its launch as a “truly historic moment”, with health chiefs saying that up to 500,000 lives could be saved under the plan, which involves greater use of high-tech treatments and diagnostic testing.

But the BDA says a "coherent strategy" for dental services is not outlined and claims that while the plan speaks of the Starting Well initiative, it is not receiving any new investment and is active in a "handful of wards" in just 13 English local authority areas.

Starting Well is a programme of dental practice-based initiatives which aim to reduce oral health inequalities and improve oral health in children under five years old.

The body has accused Health Secretary Matt Hancock of failing to invest in public health activity or "make any tangible commitment to dentistry".

It claims that spend per head on dentistry has fallen from £40.95 to £36 in the last five years and says the plan has failed to address a "crisis" of recruitment and retention in dentistry.

BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said: "Warm words on prevention will ring hollow as the government fails to acknowledge the challenges facing 24,000 NHS dentists.

"We have faced year on year cuts, a recruitment and retention crisis, and have patients travelling over 50 miles to secure access to basic services. If government really intends to put the mouth back in the body they need to work with this profession on implementation.

"The alternative is to keep treating dentistry as an afterthought, and let the NHS pay the price."

While Bradford South Judith Cummins said it was "disappointing" and more is needed than "a few words here and there".

"The crisis in oral health in Bradford, and across the country, demands serious, coherent action by the government," she said.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been contacted for comment.