Tooth decay representative of child health inequalities in England

Despite tooth decay being largely preventable, in 2015 one quarter of all 5 year olds in England had experienced tooth decay. The prevalence of this decay leading to tooth extractions shows us that the areas with poorer dental health tend to be in the north and in the more deprived local authority areas.

Best Beginnings’ vision is for every child in the UK to have the best start in life, and to reduce child health inequalities. That is why we are working to expand the content in Baby Buddy to provide the best information on dental care for children up to their third birthday.

Child oral health improvement programme

Best Beginnings is now a part of Public Health England’s Child Oral Health Improvement Board (COHIPB), working to ensure every child grows up free from tooth decay. We are tasked with reviewing Baby Buddy’s existing oral health content, working with specialists to create more written and film content, and carrying the message that child oral health should be on everyone’s agenda.  

Sara Hurley, Chief Dental Officer for England and Matthew Black from Best BeginningsDCby1

Part of this message is that all babies should see a dentist when their first teeth appear, and no later than by their 1st birthday (DCby1).

NHS dental care for children is free, and yet only 19% of children are seen by a dentist before they reach the age of three. If a dentist can examine a baby’s teeth before their 1st birthday, there is a greater chance of identifying oral health problems and preventing decay in the future.

Have your say…

Public Health England is engaging many key stakeholders in the process of improving child oral health, and this includes you!

The Oral and Dental Health Priority Setting Partnership wants to understand the public and clinical perspective on how to shape the future oral and dental health research.

You can complete the survey HERE.