A new programme board aims to make sure every child grows up free from tooth decay as part of having the best start in life.
Today (26 September 2016) marks the official launch of the Children’s Oral Health Improvement Programme Board (COHIPB).
Chaired and led by Dr Jenny Godson who leads on oral health improvement at Public Health England (PHE), the COHIPB brings together stakeholder organisations that all have key leadership roles for children and young people, including NHS England, the LGA, the British Dental Association, and the Institute of Health Visiting.
The Board’s ambition is that “every child grows up free from tooth decay as part of every child having the best start in life”. The group’s oral health action plan and 5 high level objectives have been developed and agreed by partners working together following a PHE Best Start in Life oral health roundtable held in July 2015.
The Board’s objectives are to ensure:
- child oral health is on everyone’s agenda
- the early years and dental workforce have access to evidence based oral health improvement training
- oral health data and information is used to the best effect by all key stakeholders
- all stakeholders use the best evidence for oral health improvement
- child oral health improvement information is communicated effectively
Although oral health is improving in England, almost a quarter (24.7%) of 5 year olds have tooth decay, and oral health accounts for a huge cost to health services. The NHS in England spends £3.4 billion per year on primary and secondary dental care (2014) (with an estimated additional £2.3 billion on private dental care). Tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admission in children aged 5 to 9 in 2014/15 with over 26,000 children admissions for an almost entirely preventable disease.
An oral health promotion module of the Healthy Child Programme (HCP) will be available shortly, which will sit on Health Education England’s e-learning for Healthcare website. The interactive resource is aimed at the early years workforce including health visitors, nurses and the child health team.
In the following weeks the Board will also launch:
- a rapid review of evidence on the cost-effectiveness of interventions to improve the oral health of children aged 0 to 5 years
- a return on investment (ROI) tool for oral health interventions for 0 to 5 year olds
- an infographic which shows an example of the return on investment of the programmes included in the ROI tool
- a tooth brushing feasibility report which shows the ease of delivery, acceptance and cost of an early years supervised tooth brushing scheme
- a PHE toolkit to support supervised tooth brushing programmes in early years and school settings