BSPD responds to results of oral health survey of 5-year-old children in England
Preventive and educational measures designed to improve children’s dental health may possibly be starting to take effect says Claire Stevens, media spokesperson for the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry, commenting on the findings from a survey published today (May 10th).
The survey has been undertaken by the National Dental Epidemiology Programme and commissioned by Public Health England. It shows that 75.2% of the five-year-olds examined had no visually obvious decay experience. This is a slight improvement on the 2012 survey where the figure was 72.1%.
“However,” Claire continued, “there is still a significant proportion of 5-year-olds – nearly 30% - starting school with decay. The campaign to bring that number down continues.”
“BSPD believes there is a need for a national programme of prevention and the involvement of health visitors, midwives and nurseries in getting across important oral health messages – such as all children having a dental check by the age of one.”
“The regional differences need to be tackled too. How unfair that if you are born and brought up in the North West you have a much higher chance of experiencing dental decay than in the SE. In Manchester, where I work, 66.6% of children in the survey had no visually obvious decay experience compared with 79.9% in the South East.”
Claire said that since the last survey, there had been an improved focus on prevention resulting in a 7 fold increase in fluoride prescriptions by dentists between 2007 and 2014. She also believed that the Department of Health’s guidance on fluoride toothpaste might have made a difference - today’s children are more likely to use toothpaste with the recommended proportion of fluoride instead of the low fluoride products which are thankfully being phased out.
The national epidemiology programme provides valuable information, said Claire, and it’s important that surveys of this kind continue to be undertaken. Local authorities are now responsible for dental health and it’s vital that they can assess local need and commission appropriate programmes of prevention.
Posted by Gemma