Almost one quarter of five year olds in UK experience tooth decay

One in four five year olds experience tooth decay, according to new PHE dataNew government data reveals one in four five year olds have experienced dental decay in the UK, prompting calls from a charity.

New statistics released by Public Heath England (PHE) show that almost one quarter (23%) have shown signs.

These results match those of a previous survey in 2017, indicating a lack of change when it comes to oral health standards among children

Consequently, the Oral Health Foundation is urging for a united effort to tackle the problem of childhood tooth decay.

Chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, said: ‘In 2020 and the years to come, we can make progress to tackle a heart-breaking level of childhood tooth decay and protect the future of the nation’s oral health.

‘No child should be born into a world where they have a one-in-four chance of having decayed teeth on their fifth birthday.

‘Over the last decade, we have seen significant progress to reduce the rate of childhood tooth decay. However it is disappointing to see advances come to a halt in recent years. Far too many children are suffering needlessly.’

Sugar levels

Tooth decay is almost completely preventable. However, it is the number one cause of hospital admissions for general anaesthesia among children in the UK.

Dr Carter suggests that childhood tooth decay can be reduced if positive dietary changes are made. This includes reducing sugar levels and introducing healthier foods like fruits and vegetables.

‘Introducing water fluoridation schemes could dramatically improve the oral health of children across the nation, especially in the most deprived communities,’ he adds.

‘Currently, less than 10% of the UK population are supplied with fluoridated water. This is not enough to bring about the change that we all want to see.’

Additionally, the survey reveals that children from more deprived areas (34%) are significantly more likely to experience decay compared to those from less deprived areas (14%).

Dr Carter said: ‘At the Oral Health Foundation, we strongly believe that prevention is better than a cure.

‘We can be part of the solution. We can help countless children avoid the unnecessary pain and distress caused by this problem.’