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New PHE Guidance – Health matters: child dental health

15th June 2017

This professional resource outlines how health professional, councils and partners can help prevent tooth decay in children under 5 as part of ensuring every child has the best start in life.

Tooth decay is largely preventable yet it remains a serious problem. Findings from Public Health England’s (PHE) 2015 national dental epidemiology survey of 5 year old children showed that in 2015 in England, a quarter (25%) of 5 year olds had experienced tooth decay, having on average 3 or 4 teeth affected. The vast majority of tooth decay was untreated.

PHE infographic - child dental health

PHE infographic – child dental health

Health visitors have an important role in providing advice and support as part of the healthy child programme. This includes:

  • universal interventions within the first year, providing oral health advice and support and signposting to dental services
  • identifying families that need additional support, for example the siblings of children who have attended hospital for dental extractions due to tooth decay
  • encouraging dental attendance when the first tooth erupts at about 6 months of age, to enable the dental teams to give preventive messages

Resources are available to support this including:

PHE infographic - child dental health

PHE infographic – child dental health