Why is action needed to improve child oral health in Hull?
Since the last update to this Commission data from the dental survey of 5 year olds from 2015 has been published which show a modest (but non-significant) improvement in outcomes:
Nearly 38% of 5 year old children living in Hull experience tooth decay, which is significantly higher than the figures for England (25%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (29%).
The rate for Hull has fallen from nearly 44% in 2011/12. However this reduction is not ‘statistically significant’, meaning that although it is encouraging, it could still be due to chance rather than indicating a genuine improvement.
For those local 5 year old children with decay, they will have on average 4 teeth affected.
On average across all children, each child has 1.6 teeth affected, which is significantly higher than the figures for England (0.8) and Yorkshire and the Humber (1.0). As compared with the average figure for each of the upper tier local authorities in England, Hull is in the bottom 10%.
To improve children’s oral health in Hull, local health professionals are recommending WATER FLUORIDATION, together with SUPERVISED TOOTHBRUSHING and a FLUORIDE VARNISH scheme.
Hull and the Riding of East Yorkshire Local Dental Committee endorses water fluoridation as a safe and effective method of reducing tooth decay. Their statement:
Local dental health professionals know from day to day experience in treating patients that resolute action on a community-wide scale is needed in Hull to address the unacceptably high rates of tooth decay among children. Whilst dental health education is very important – to impress upon children and their parents the need to brush their teeth with a fluoride toothpaste and to moderate their consumption of sugary foods and drinks – the evidence of the past 50 or more years shows that fluoridating water has significant additional benefits.
Hull needs a combination of methods to help protect our children’s teeth. Water fluoridation should be one of them. Fluoridation benefits adults too.