Children's oral health is in the news again with recent figures suggesting that over 100 operations to remove multiple rotten teeth from children and teenagers are carried out in hospital every day. At a cost of some £35m per year, plus missed schooldays, poor oral health is having a huge impact.
PACEY’s recent survey of members revealed that only 43% of children in their care regularly visited the dentist (twice a year). 42% of respondents said their children never brush their teeth while in their setting. The survey also revealed a strong interest in further support to encourage oral health in their setting, including over 80 per cent of members would value a dental health professional to come into their setting to demonstrate good practice. 84 per cent said they would welcome free teeth brushing kits.
Speaking about the statistics released by the Local Government Association that show a 61% increase in the cost of these tooth removal operations over the last five years, PACEY's Chief Executive, Liz Bayram, said
"These alarming figures clearly highlight the extent of the oral health crisis for children. We cannot allow children to undergo unnecessary dental procedures that are entirely preventable through good diet and oral hygiene. The sugar tax was a step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to support parents, health and childcare professionals to understand how to ensure good oral health.
"A recent survey of our 30,000 members revealed that only under half of the children in their care visited a dentist regularly. Childcare professionals could play a greater role in helping improve the oral health of the nation’s children as their work supports children’s health and wellbeing as much as their educational development. We need a joined up approach to tackling this issue or levels of tooth decay in our children will continue to escalate."
PACEY is committed to supporting its members with further support for oral health and is in the early stages of developing an exciting campaign to support good oral health, working with a major dental health company. We will include further information on our website as soon as we can.
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