Improving Children’s Oral Health
To improve children’s oral health, issues need to be tackled in schools first.
Children’s oral health has become more of an issue of late. With child tooth decay rising rapidly, it’s no surprise people want to see the problem addressed.
In 2014/15 over 26,000 children aged between five and nine were admitted to hospital for dental extractions because of caries. This is an entirely preventable issue and the number is only growing.
At the beginning of the year the problem was raised in a House of Commons debate by dentist, Sir Paul Beresford MP. It was also raised in the Health Committee. In May the then minister, Alistair Burt MP, told the BDA Conference:
“The number of children going to hospital for dental extractions in a national scandal.”
Initially, George Osborne encouraged this movement. Osborne announced that there would be a sugar tax. However, in the end nothing came of it. The childhood obesity plan was labelled a disaster and there was no mention of dentistry as an issue in correlation with the sugar tax. There is no denying that the issue has to be fully addressed.
The Teeth Team is a Hull based operation. They’re aiming to improve children’s oral health as well as their awareness of it. Its programme, which has now been running for five years, aims to reduce the inequalities in oral health among children. They facilitate a supervised daily tooth-brushing programme in schools. They have also added annual dental assessments and bi-annual applications of fluoride varnish.
Teeth Team reports that for many of the children in the programme, the only time they do actually brush their teeth is when they are at school. Often tooth brushing does not take place in the home environment or at any other time. Knowing this, its not surprising that children’s oral health is so lacking. The Teeth Team doesn’t wait until children need multiple extractions. They strike early and in schools to educate kids about their oral health before they need appointments at the dental office. They have also had great success and are in the process of expanding throughout the UK.
The Teeth Team highlights the lack of education for children’s oral health. There’s a gap in education, where children aren’t learning what they need to know about keeping their teeth healthy. Also, the easy accessibility of sports drinks and sweets isn’t helping either. With tooth decay on the rise in young children, the urgency for education should be on the rise too.
Would you like to see the Teeth Team working in your children’s schools? What do you think can be done to improve children’s oral health?