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Improvement in tooth decay rates among young children.

Almost three out of every 10 five-year-olds have tooth decay and, on average, children have between three and four teeth affected by decay, treated or untreated, a survey by Public Health England suggests.

Despite this, the National Dental Epidemiology Programme for England's oral health survey of five-year-old children on the prevalence and severity of dental decay said that, generally, there have been improvements in cases of tooth decay and severity in young children.

The survery found overall tooth decay in five year olds was reduced, from 30.9% to 27.9% in 2012. Furthermore, the proportion of children with untreated decay has reduced from 27.5% to 24.5% and the number of children with mouth sepsis has dropped from 2.3% to 1.7% since 2008.

Lord Howe, Health Minister, 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. Dental teams have worked incredibly hard to improve oral health and I am confident that decay levels will continue to fall.'

The survey found more children in the north of England suffered with tooth decay than those in the south and east regions. Levels of decay ranged from 21.2% of five year olds in the south east to 34.8% in the north west.

Decay levels were also higher in more deprived local authority areas.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England said the organisation will be providing support to local authorities and is currently developing commissioning guides, starting with a focus on the needs of young children.

A revised version of Delivering Better Oral Health is also expected to be published in 2014 and will be distributed to all NHS practices in England so they can give the best advice to patients about self-care for themselves and their children.

CPHVA/Unite says: 'All community practitioners dealing with children's public health must remember to promote oral health. The role of sugar, including hidden sugars, in causing tooth decay must be emphasised to parents, carers and children.

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Title Annotation:NEWS ROUND-UP
Publication:Community Practitioner
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 1, 2013
Words:356
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