Public Health England Report on Tooth Decay

Survey results from Public Health England published on Friday 20 September recognise the importance of improving dental health in children under 5 years of age. The study ‘National Dental Epidemiology Programme for England, oral health survey of five-year-old children 2012’ finds that, despite an overall improvement in the number of children free of tooth decay, over 27% of five year olds have tooth decay.

This survey undertaken in 2012 is the second national survey, the first of which was undertaken in 2008. Overall tooth decay in five year olds has reduced from 30.9% in 2008 to 27.9% in 2012.

The Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF) support Public Health England in their efforts to raise awareness of good oral health in children. Judy More, a Paediatric Dietitian from London and ITF Forum member said: “It’s good news that national rates of tooth decay in 5 year olds have slightly improved, but there are still areas where one in two children have decayed teeth. Healthcare professionals, parents and carers still need advice and support to ensure that decay levels continue to fall.”

The ITF have been working with the British Dental Health Foundation, and provide free resources to help prevent tooth decay including a Factsheet for healthcare professionals and a Guidance and Tips sheet for parents and carers.

The factsheet is available for download from: ITF Protecting toddlers from tooth decay Factsheet

The guidance and tips sheet is available from: ITF Protecting toddlers from tooth decay G&T

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Further Reading

  • Dr Gill Harris, Consultant Paediatric Clinical Psychologist   Following his recent recovery from coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has publicly blamed excess weight for his need for intensive care. He has subsequently declared a war on the UK’s obesity crisis and is planning a post-pandemic public health drive to battle the growing problem.
  • Katie Fox, Primary School Teacher   Due to coronavirus, playgroups and nurseries are shut and those children due to start school in a few months will be out of routine and away from friends. It is understandable that many parents are worried about getting their children ready for September. Children learn and progress at different rates so there are no set criteria on what they need to be able to know or do when they first start nursery, but if they have had some experience learning at home it could help to make it a smoother transition. Turn taking games, imaginative play, reading, and developing fine and gross motor skills can promote independence, build confidence and help develop simple skills.
  • Dr Gill Harris, Consultant Paediatric Clinical Psychologist Dr Maddy Harris, Clinical Psychologist   In times of crisis – such as the one we are currently living in – parents may find that the normal stresses of everyday life are magnified and additional worries and concerns emerge. Knowing how to cope may prove difficult, but an approach which has widely been discussed in the media and on social media is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).The premise of ACT is that fears and anxieties are seen as real and cannot be ‘challenged’ away, unlike with cognitive behavioural therapy. By concentrating on our actions we are able to work past our fears. This method may help those struggling with this new chaotic routine we find ourselves in. The Infant & Toddler Forum are here to help with our top tips on how to apply this intervention.