High rates of fillings and teeth extractions among Enfield children

New data on children’s dental health causing concern among local professionals, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

credit Quang Tri Nguyen via Unsplash
Photo by Quang Tri NGUYEN on Unsplash

The latest data on dental health shows young children in Enfield have among the worst teeth in London.

Enfield Council’s director of public health and local dental professionals presented the latest statistics for the borough at a meeting yesterday (Wednesday 28th) with some data in particular said to be providing cause for concern.

Some of the positives include higher-than-average attendance rates among adults and children, with 38.3% of adults and 46.6% of children in Enfield seeing a dentist within the recommended appointment period in 2022/23. The London average is 36.6% and 45.6% respectively. 

However, following a national oral health survey in 2022 which collected information on five-year-olds across state-funded schools, children in Enfield were found to have high rates of dental issues.

According to the survey, Enfield has the highest rate of teeth extracted in five-year-olds due to decay in London, amounting to 4% of children at this age across the borough.

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The borough also has London’s third-highest rate of filled-in teeth among five-year-olds.

However, the average number of obvious untreated decayed teeth in five-year-olds across Enfield, at 23%, was slightly below the London average.

The council has a responsibility to commission oral health promotion services and confirmed it was working with partners in the NHS to enhance its oral health promotion.

The council’s public health team has commissioned Whittington Health NHS Foundation Trust to deliver training to frontline staff and take part in a national dental health survey in schools.

The team will also address underlying causes of general health and dental health inequalities to inform future strategies.

The early years team will plan oral health parent workshops and support early year foundation stage providers such as preschools, nurseries and school reception classes in attending training workshops. 

Health visitors, registered nurses or midwives with additional training in public health nursing will deliver oral health messages at key stages from birth and deliver oral health packs. 

The oral health promotion team will provide annual training to frontline staff including health visitors, pharmacists, library staff, teachers, children’s centre staff and voluntary and independent childcare settings.

The team will also target 22 schools, at reception and year one age groups, to deliver a fluoride varnish programme, which helps tackle tooth decay in children and includes awareness sessions for parents and carers.

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