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Over a quarter of UK 5 year olds suffer from tooth decay

Posted by Rachel Lucas

More than a quarter of children in the UK aged five years old have tooth decay, according to new figures.

Public Health England (PHE) has revealed the results of its oral health survey of five year olds – conducted in 2012.

The report – which is published every four years – says despite the number of children who are free of tooth decay increasing, over 27 per cent of five year olds have tooth decay. It also revealed that youngsters with decay have on average between three and four teeth affected.

A north-south divide was also uncovered among the findings, with more youngsters in the northern regions of the UK suffering from tooth decay than those in the south.

In the south-east, 21.2 per cent of five year olds were affected – compared with 34.8 per cent of children of the same age in the north-west. The study found levels of decay were also higher in the more deprived local authorities.

However, the survey also revealed that the number of children who are free of tooth decay has gone up from 69.1 per cent in 2008 to 72.1 per cent in 2012.

Health minister Lord Howe said: “We know more work is needed to make sure good oral health is more consistent right across the country. Every child should have the opportunity to grow up with a healthy smile.”

He added that over a million new patients have seen a dentist since 2010, while the UK also has one of the lowest decay rates in the world.

As far as dentists are concerned, dental marketing can play a key role in reducing the problem. For example, posters places in dental surgeries and waiting rooms can be used to educate parents on how regularly and how long they should brush their child’s teeth.

PHE advises that parents should supervise their children brushing their teeth until they are at least seven or eight years old.

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