New reports published by the Welsh Oral Health Information Unit suggest that the dental health of children in Wales has improved since 2004-2005 and the proportion of 12-year-olds with no tooth decay has risen from 54.9% to 64.0% since that time period. There is still a strong link between the level of dental decay and deprivation but the figures show that there is a faster improvement among children in deprived areas of the country.
Health Minister Mark Drakeford called the report ‘encouraging’ and said that is ‘shows a very welcome reduction in the number of 12-year-old children in Wales with tooth decay. It is a significant achievement that we have managed to halve the prevalence of what is a chronic disease over the last 25 years.’
Mr Drakeford went on to talk about the Designed to Smile programme that has been working to eliminate decay among younger children, saying that the effects should be noticeable in future surveys on the subject. The initiative was rolled out across Wales in 2009 to highlight the importance of decay prevention and the link between oral health, nutrition, and general health. Mr Drakeford added that they hope the programme ‘will have had a positive impact in speeding up improvements in the oral health of children living in some of our more deprived communities.’