The Institute is delighted to be working with the Office of the Chief Dental Officer, England, and is proud to support the national Smile4Life campaign.
Good oral health contributes to giving every child the best start in life and is closely associated with good general health, nutrition and development, and oral health promotion is a core element within the Healthy Child Programme.
Children’s oral health is a huge public health priority for all UK nations. Many of you may have already seen on social media the “jar of teeth” image. The photo is genuine and was taken by British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD) President Claire Stevens who routinely extracts the teeth of children as young as two. It is a stark reminder of the reality of poor oral health for children, with the associated chronic pain which affects a child’s ability to learn, thrive and develop.
Dental attendance is crucial in identifying poor oral health in children as soon as possible, yet according to NHS Digital for the year 2016/17 the access rate to dental care by children in England under the age of 2 years was 11.6% and under 5 years was just 33%. September 2017 saw the introduction of new national guidance in England for a “Dental Check by One” (DCby1) or dental visit by a child’s first birthday to mark the start of lifelong dental care and support a smile for life. We would hope DCby1 is now rolling out across your areas and starting to improve the previous reported access to dental care issues for families.
We are publishing the attached article How health visitors can help to give every child a smile for life and will promote a suite of additional oral health resources via our social media feeds over the next couple of weeks so do follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.
The aim of this is to help you to consider what it is that you do to promote good oral health for children. This article and the tweets and posts will contain many interesting resources and links to refresh your oral health evidence base. Please take some time to review these as we know from survey evidence that up-to-date knowledge is closely linked with confidence in discussing oral health with parents, and so this will further endorse your early intervention approach with families and prevention of childhood tooth decay.
Don’t forget to also share information with your early years and health and social care colleagues.