Food A-level abolition will have a major impact on dental health

Following the UK government’s proposal to remove the Food Technology A-level as an endorsed subject within design technology, the British Society of Dental Hygiene & Therapy (BSDHT) believe the move will lead to a major adverse impact on diet, nutrition and eating habits in relation to dental health and joins calls for a reversal of the decision.

The verdict to devalue the subject was brought about after experts claimed that food technology at Aslevel was unnecessary and therefore teaching of it should not extend past GCSE. 

If the proposal is approved the last ever cohort of A-level food technology students will enrol in September this year.

President of the BSDHT Michaela ONeill stated: “The perception of food technology as a throwaway subject is completely wrong and outdated. The food technology A-level offers in-depth and important knowledge to students on food science and nutrition which helps to inform and influence their choices when it comes to diet.

“It is not just about educating the students who choose to take food technology as A-level too. Many students take what they learn in these classes and take it into their later lives and careers to influence others. Many of these students use what they learn into their professions such as doctors, psychologists, teachers and dentists and use it to educate others. On a less professional level food technology also teaches future parents about healthy eating habits, which they then can pass onto their children. 

“Some of the vital lessons taught at this level include advanced education into the benefits of a balanced diet, looking in depth at the topical and important subject of sugar and its role in causing tooth decay.”

The 2013 Children's Dental Health Survey found that nearly half of eight year olds had visible signs of tooth decay. 

Tooth decay occurs when sugar reacts with the bacteria in plaque. This forms the acids that attack the teeth and destroy the enamel. After this happens many times, the tooth enamel may break down, forming a hole or 'cavity'. Tooth decay almost always leads to fillings and can even lead to teeth having to be removed.

Early tooth decay can have no obvious symptoms, but a Dental Hygienist and those dually qualified in Dental Hygiene and Therapy would be able to spot a cavity in its early stages when they examine your teeth. This is why you should visit your dental team regularly, as small cavities are much easier to treat than advanced decay.

“Effective health education is an important stepping stone to dental health in adults, “continued Ms ONeill.

“We believe that the dental profession should get behind calls on the government to reconsider their decision and develop food technology into a single higher education subject which incorporates nutrition, food science and health education to enable students to make better choices which affect their dental health.

“This subject needs to be appealing to universities so that they value it on a similar level to more traditionally science based courses. Food technology also perfectly complements other scientific studies as it allows practical application in real life situations.

“If we devalue the subject of food in education it may have a negative impact of its perception in the public eye, and we lose a key area in the battle for good dental health.

“We are joining calls from many areas of the dental and food professional to contact Nick Gibb, Minister of State at the Department for Education (, and ask him to reconsider the proposals and allow A Level food technology to remain on the curriculum.”


David Arnold
01788 539789

01788 575050

Editors Notes



01788 575050


The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) is a nationally recognised body that represents over 4,000 Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists across the UK and beyond.

BSDHT maintain an on-going dialogue with the General Dental Council (GDC), the Departments of Health and all of the main groups representing dental care professionals, and attends meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dentistry, bringing dental hygiene and therapy to the attention of government ministers and MP’s.

Visit for more information.

There are currently no comments

Please log in to leave comments

If you are not yet a member you can register here: Member Registration