As part of World Oral Health Day last month, a new survey involving 13 countries revealed that the UK ranked lowest for oral health promotion in schools

The FDI World Dental Federation (FDI) released the results of a survey from 13 countries, which asked parents with children aged 5–16 if their child’s school provided lessons on good oral care.

The survey reports that UK schools rank last in promoting good oral health.

When asked if their child’s school provided lessons on the importance of good oral care, only 29% of parents from the UK said this was the case, which was dramatically lower than the results from 12 other countries.

This puts the UK at the bottom of the list behind USA (53%), Australia (54%), Germany (69%), China (77%), Saudi Arabia (81%), Poland (84%), Morocco and Algeria (86%), Indonesia (87%), Brazil and India (91%), and Mexico (93%).

It was found that 49% of parents from the UK also ‘didn’t know’ how often their children were given lessons on good oral care, with parents from Australia and the USA not that far behind at 35% and 32%, respectively.

‘Schools should teach children about oral care’

FDI President Dr Kathryn Kell said, ‘The survey results show that not all parents know if their children are receiving oral health education at school.

‘We must fill this knowledge gap, as oral diseases are the most prevalent disease globally and affect 3.58 billion people; equivalent to half of the world’s population.

‘Schools must be encouraged to teach children about good oral care’.

The good news is that 71% of parents across all countries agreed that schools should teach children about good oral care and 51% also recognised that parents play a role in oral health education.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has renewed its call on the government to include oral health programmes and education within early years settings and within the school curriculum for older children.

Instructing patients at an early age can set them up with good oral hygiene habits for life.

If you would like to get actively involved, take a look at the ‘Dental Buddy’ programme.

This is open and available across the UK to offer high quality oral health education in the classroom and to forge strong links and relationships between schools and local dental practices.

To find more information see www.dentalbuddy.org