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Town children have the healthiest teeth
9:00am Monday 7th October 2013 in News
CHILDREN in the Malvern Hills have the healthiest teeth in the county.
Despite that, 16.4 per cent of them – close to one in five – are suffering from tooth decay by the time they are five.
In comparison, almost one in three children in Worcester has tooth decay by the age of just five, new figures have revealed.
Data from Public Health England shows that 29.9 per cent of children in Worcester have tooth decay by the time they are five, higher than the national average of 27.9 per cent.
Other parts of the county (including Malvern) fare better, with figures of 19.6 per cent in Wychavon and 21 per cent in Wyre Forest. Public Health England says children with decay have on average three or four teeth affected.
Since April, responsibility for assessing and improving oral health has been taken over by Worcestershire County Council.
The overall Worcestershire figure is 20.9 per cent, considerably lower than the West Midlands rate of 26 per cent.
While Coun Marcus Hart, cabinet member for health, is heartened by that figure, he wants improvement.
“While the figures for Worcestershire are lower than the national figures, which is encouraging, there is always more that can be done to improve dental health through good diet and good oral hygiene,” he said.
“We continue to encourage and support families to take responsibility to improve their own health and wellbeing and this includes taking care of their dental care needs.
“Dental decay is preventable and we would urge parents to ensure their children brush their teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, for two minutes each time to promote healthy teeth and gums.
“It is especially important that children and young people look after their teeth from an early age.”
John Morris, regional consultant in dental public health for Public Health England, said things have improved slightly since the last National Dental Epidemiology study in 2008, when nationally 31 per cent of five-year-olds had tooth decay.
But he believes the figures could and should be better.
“There is still much to do.
Dental decay is preventable,” he said.
He said Public Health England is currently developing new commissioning guides with a focus on the needs of young children to help local authorities with the fight against tooth decay.
FIVE-YEAR-OLDS WITH TOOTH DECAY
Wyre Forest 21%
Malvern Hills 16.4%
West Midlands 26%
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