Public Health England today (19 June 2014) published new guidance for local authorities to help improve the oral health of children and young people. The guidance makes recommendations to help local authorities review and develop their oral health improvement strategies.‘Local Authorities Improving Oral Health: Commissioning Better Oral Health for Children and Young People’ is new guidance, focussing on local authorities in their new role as commissioners of oral health improvement programmes
Tooth decay is the most common oral disease affecting children and young people in England, yet it is largely preventable. While children’s oral health has improved over the past 20 years, almost a third (27.9%) of 5 year-olds still had tooth decay in 2012, and it was the most common reason for hospital admission in children aged 5 to 9 years in 2012 to 2013.
The guidance is based on the best evidence currently available and provides advice on a range of options that local authorities can consider, depending on the needs of their local populations.
Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director for Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England said:
Poor oral health can affect children and young people’s ability to sleep, eat, speak, play and socialise with other children. This guidance will help local authorities and commissioners of dental health services improve the oral health of their communities by working with partners and ensuring services are integrated with existing programmes.