In 2012 Public Health England commissioned a survey, Department of Health (2012) into the dental health of five year- old children. This survey indicated 27.9% of 5-year-olds in England have tooth decay.
The survey also revealed:
Children with decay have on average between 3 and 4 teeth affected by decay, treated or untreated.
24.5% of children have untreated decay.
1.7% of children have sepsis (infection) in their mouths.
Unfortunately, this national survey also confirmed that 43.4% of five-year-olds in Hull had tooth decay, compared with the national average of 27.9%. The same survey also revealed 39.2% in Hull and 20.1% for the East Riding suffered from untreated decay.
Figures for the Yorkshire and Humber region showed 29.3% of children were not undergoing treatment to tackle the decay, which may suggest there is an issue of dental neglect.
A further survey was published in May 2016 by Public Health England, Department of Health (2015) again focusing on the dental health of five year- old children. This latest report concluded that 24.8% of five-year-old children in England whose parents gave consent for participation in this survey had experience of dental decay. Among these children with some experience of obvious decay, the average number of teeth that were decayed, missing or filled was 3.4
For the Yorkshire and Humber region, the survey also revealed:
2.2% of children had sepsis compared with 1.4% of children nationally
11% of children had experienced fillings compared with 12% of children nationally
3.7% of children had one or more teeth extracted compared with 2.5% of children nationally.
These statistics highlight the fact that there clearly is a regional problem which most certainly needs to be addressed. If we want to break the cycle of poor oral health amongst generations of families in the Yorkshire and Humber region it is paramount there is a “joined-up” approach where a range of services work collaboratively in partnership, rather than in isolation, which is often the case.
If we compare this to the map of the indices of deprivation, we can see direct correlation between the prevalence of disease and areas of deprivation – See Page 3 of the Teeth Team report 2016.
Undoubtedly, encouraging parents to access routine primary dental care for their children should be high on the agenda, as should raising the awareness of the importance of regular tooth brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and the provision of dietary advice, including information on hidden sugars and the frequency of their consumption.
On a positive note, if we look at the specific figures pertaining to Hull, the same survey identified that 37.8% of five-year-old children had experience of dental decay. This is an improvement on the 2013 survey where 43.4% of five year- olds had experienced decay, showing a reduction of 5.6%. However Looking at the 95% confidence intervals from a statistical point of view, the improvement is not significant.
....but even this improvement still leaves Hull at the bottom of the dental health league with a handful of other Cities, so we need to do more for our children and our population generally.