Dental Health: Children

Department of Health written question – answered on 29th March 2017.

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Photo of Lord Condon Lord Condon Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to prevent tooth decay in children under the age of five, in the light of the increase in tooth extractions in England in the last ten years.

Photo of Lord O'Shaughnessy Lord O'Shaughnessy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

Improving the oral health of young children is a Public Health England (PHE) priority. PHE’s Child Oral Health Improvement Programme Board provides national system leadership for the delivery of the shared ambition that every child grows up free of tooth decay as part of getting the best start in life.

The two key actions to prevent tooth decay are reducing sugar consumption and getting fluoride onto teeth which can be by means of fluoride toothpaste, fluoride varnish and water fluoridation. PHE has published a number of toolkits to support local authorities in improving child oral health.

In addition the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan, launched in August 2016, contained proposals for a broad, structured sugar reduction programme to remove sugar from the categories of food that contribute the most to children’s sugar intakes. The Government also announced the Soft Drinks Industry Levy last year, which will apply from April 2018.

To support families to reduce their sugar intake, PHE’s Change4Life launched the Be Food Smart campaign in January 2017 which encourages families to download the app which reveals the amount of sugar, saturated fat and salt in food and drink.

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