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Prioritising children for dental recall

By DTA | 16th September 2021 | News

Sara Hurley and Simo Kenny have issued an update to the profession today with the latest advice and guidance on children's oral health and paediatric dentistry.

'One of the greatest inequalities for children is in their oral health. Thankfully, the majority of children and young people have no experience of dental decay. But children living in the most deprived areas of the country were almost three times as likely to have experience of dental decay as those living in the least deprived areas.

Poor oral health doesn't just impact on a child's mouth - it damages their confidence, their ability to socialise and their education. Parents and guardians have to miss work because their child is in pain, or they have to go to the dentist or hospital to have an extraction.

We know that there are wider determinants of health which cause children's poor oral health and they can't all be solved by dental professionals or the NHS. Some solutions, such as community water fluoridation, are thankfully gaining momentum and ministers deserve credit for bringing the issue forward.

Approximately only one in 10 children under two has a NHS dental check-up, but a first dental visit by a baby's first birthday will help prevent the tooth decay experienced by a quarter of England's five year olds. So NHS dental teams can continue to tackle poor child oral health through promoting dental check ups by one, educating children and families on tooth brushing and a healthy diet and promoting high impact clinical interventions.

We're also happy to share with you a helpful implementation tool of the NICE guidelines on recalling children for a dental appointment . Although service levels are improving, children should still be prioritised for a dental appointment in line with the Standard Operating Procedure .

Your clinical expertise and the role you play as leading advocates of child health couldn't be more important. We hope you find this update a useful reminder of the key information and we are particularly grateful to the British Society for Paediatric Dentistry for their strong leadership.

Thank you for your dedication to children's oral health and wellbeing.'

You can read the bulletin here.

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