According to dental experts there are huge regional discrepancies in the health of children’s teeth up and down the country. Sandra White, director of dental public health at Public Health England, spoke at a health select committee hearing into children’s oral health. She told the committee that the most deprived areas of the country have a greater percentage of dental decay in five-year-olds than the least deprived areas.
Dr White also said that children who develop decay when they still have their milk teeth are more likely to show signs of decay when their adult teeth come through. She added that it’s important to teach children how to effectively clean their teeth while they are young, so that they don’t have to get dental treatment in later life.
Chief dental officer for England, Barry Cockcroft, said that despite the improvement in child oral health over the past 50 years there is still a strong link between deprivation and poor dental hygiene. He told the hearing that children in deprived areas were only accessing treatment after they had developed symptoms, rather than receiving preventative care. Finally he said ‘I think we shouldn’t see this purely as a dental issue, this is a societal issue that we need to address across a broad front.’