Dental health: migrant health guide
- Public Health England
- Part of:
- Non-communicable health concerns: migrant health guide
- 31 July 2014
Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients for healthcare practitioners
Ask new migrant patients about their:
- previous history of dental examinations or treatment
- current dental or oral symptoms
Provide new migrant patients with information about:
- dental services in the UK, and their entitlements to those services
- oral hygiene
Immediate necessary dental treatment is exempt from charge under The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations (2011).
Children are entitled to free dental treatment until the age of 18 (or 19 if in full-time education). Women are entitled to free dental checks during pregnancy, and for the first year after their baby is born.
Dental health is an important part of overall health, and prevention is better than cure (and cheaper).
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that globally:
- 60 to 90% of school children have dental cavities
- 15 to 20% of middle-aged adults have severe periodontal (gum) disease, which may result in tooth loss
See the prevalence of caries in children by country on the Malmö University oral health database. Malmö University is a collaborating centre in WHO’s oral health programme.
In the UK, oral health has improved dramatically since the 1960s. However, poor oral health is still closely linked to factors which may apply to certain migrant groups, namely:
- economic deprivation
- social exclusion
- cultural differences
There is increasing evidence that dental health is linked with other health issues, for example:
- coronary artery disease
- premature birth or low birth weight
The availability of dental services varies enormously between and within countries globally, and it is possible that prior to their arrival in the UK some migrants may have never received any:
- dental examinations or treatment
- advice on oral hygiene
The NHS dental services in England leaflet has information about how NHS dental services in England work, including how to find an NHS dentist, what treatment you can expect and how much it will cost.
The British Dental Health Foundation provides information for patients on a range of dental health topics.
Find out about help with dental costs.
Find an NHS dentist.
Published: 31 July 2014