No improvement in tooth decay among five-year-olds in England

  • Date: 24 March 2023

TOOTH decay in five-year-old children in England showed no improvement over the three-year period to 2022, according to a government survey.

Carried out as part of the OHID National Dental Epidemiology Programme, the survey found that 23.7 per cent of five-year-olds in England had experience of obvious dental decay, which is similar to results from 2019 (23.4 per cent).

The aim of the survey (carried out every two years though most recently delayed due to Covid-19) is to measure the prevalence and severity of caries among five-year-old children within each lower-tier local authority.

The survey report revealed growing inequalities at both regional and local authority levels for both prevalence and severity of dental decay. The prevalence of dental decay in more deprived areas was 35.1 per cent compared to 13.5 per cent in more affluent areas – an oral health gap of over 21.6 percentage points compared to 20.6 per cent in 2019.

Eddie Crouch, chair of the BDA commented: “England’s oral health gap is widening, but ministers remain asleep at the wheel. Time and again we hear the right noises but see literally no action to break the link between decay and deprivation.

“Whether it’s providing access to basic care, rolling out tried and tested programmes in schools or fluoridating water, our youngest patients require deeds not words.”

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