Whilst the 2017 Child Oral Health Survey figures pointed to a 7.6% drop in decayed, missing or filled teeth of five-year olds in England compared with 2008, it also highlighted that 49.4% of five-year olds in Pendle experience decay, compared to 5.1% in Waverley.
Dr Sandra White, dental lead for PHE was keen to point out clear inequalities in oral health in more deprived areas. She said: “It’s encouraging to see dental decay declining across England, however almost a quarter of five-year-olds are still suffering from this preventable condition. Children in our most deprived communities continue to be hit the hardest – we need more local authorities using targeted interventions to reduce these inequalities.”
“Steady decline in tooth decay amongst 5 year olds says Public Health England“
There have been successful programmes like Childsmile in Scotland and Designed to Smile in Wales that have been very successful, and the British Dental Association wants England to adopt something similar. BDA chair, Mick Armstrong, said “It’s a tragedy that a child’s oral health is still determined by their postcode and their parents’ incomes. We should not accept that a child raised in Pendle will enter primary school with 20 times the levels of decay as one born in Surrey. Sadly while cavities are almost wholly preventable, official indifference means this inequality gap shows little sign of narrowing.”