Decay: England’s children are being let down on prevention
10 May 2016
British Dental Association (BDA) has commented on the modest
improvements in children’s oral health revealed in new data from Public
The latest survey shows that one in four children in England are still
living with tooth decay. 75.2% of five-year olds were free from visually
obvious decay in 2014-15, compared to 72.1% in 2011-12, and 69.1% for
a total fall of 6.1 percentage points from 2007-15.
recently reported the largest improvement on record in dental decay among five-year olds, with a Cardiff University study showing rates fell by
12 percentage points since 2007, from 47.6% to 35.4%.
Scotland has seen decay rates among young children fall from 42% to 32% in the same period.
The BDA has argued England’s national policymakers have not had the
same appetite for innovation shown by devolved governments.
Designed to Smile, a preventive programme targeting young children in areas of high deprivation.
Childsmile, a similar pioneering effort from the Scottish
government has reportedly cut £5 million off treatment costs. There is
no equivalent national scheme in England.
A recent survey of
NHS dentists revealed that 83 per cent felt the widely discredited
NHS contract system, based on rigid government targets, was holding them
back from preventive work.
the number of children facing hospital tooth extractions continues to mount, rising from
32,457 procedures in 2010-11 to
40,970 in 2014-15, dentists’ leaders have pressed the government to
provide a strategy and a contract geared around prevention.
Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, Chair of the BDA's General Dental Practice Committee said:
“We are seeing modest improvements in
oral health, not the breakthrough our children deserve. We are paying
the price for decades of government indifference, which has left
persistent oral health inequalities and an ever-growing
number of kids facing extractions in hospital.
"It is a scandal that one in four young
children are now living with decay. Sadly Westminster has been unwilling
to embrace innovation or break with the failed government targets that
have held back a genuinely preventive approach
to oral health.
“It is now imperative that ministers provide a strategy and a contract that can put prevention first.”
About the BDA
The British Dental
Association (BDA) is the professional association and trade union for
dentists in the UK. It represents dentists working in general practice,
in community and hospital settings, in academia
and research, and in the armed forces, and includes dental students.
The BDA promotes members’ interests, advances the science, arts and
ethics of dentistry, and contributes towards improving the nation's oral
information, please contact the BDA's media team on 0207 563 4145/46 or
visit the BDA's news centre. You can also follow news from the BDA on
Twitter. Membership packages reflect the varied needs