Decline in tooth decay among five year olds in England

TOOTH decay among five year olds in England has fallen to its lowest level in a decade, according to a survey by Public Health England.

The survey found that now less than 25 per cent of five year olds suffer tooth decay, which represents a 20 per cent reduction since the first oral health survey was conducted in 2008.

PHE believes the pattern of dental health improvement among the age group shows the impact parents and carers can have in establishing good dental care habits from an early age.

The Oral health survey of 5 year olds examined the dental health of 111,500 children (16.5 per cent per cent of the five year old population in England) and found that an estimated 166,467 five year olds suffer from tooth decay, compared with 177,423 in 2008 (31 per cent of the cohort).

Despite the national decline there is still significant regional variation in rates. In the North West, a third (33.4 per cent) of five year olds suffer from tooth decay compared to a fifth (20.1 per cent) in the South East. Higher levels of deprivation tend to have higher levels of tooth decay.

The PHE is calling for further analysis to understand the factors that have contributed to the trend and identify the steps they can take to extend the improvement in decay levels to all sectors of the population.