The London borough where children, aged 5, have worst teeth with more extractions than anywhere else

By Staff

Enfield’s young children have some of the worst teeth in London, according to the latest dental health data. The alarming statistics were presented by Enfield Council’s director of public health and local dental professionals at a meeting at the end of February.

A national oral health survey in 2022 revealed that Enfield’s children have high rates of dental problems. The survey found that Enfield has the highest rate of tooth extractions due to decay in five year olds in London, affecting 4 per cent of children this age in the borough.

Enfield also has the third-highest rate of filled teeth among five year olds in London. But, the average number of obvious untreated decayed teeth in five year olds across Enfield, at 23 per cent, was slightly below the London average.

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On a positive note, Enfield has higher-than-average dentist attendance rates. In 2022/23, 38.3 per cent of adults and 46.6 per cent of children visited a dentist within the recommended period, beating the London averages of 36.6 per cent and 45.6 per cent.

The council is responsible for commissioning oral health promotion services and confirmed it is working with NHS partners to improve its oral health promotion. The council’s health team has asked Whittington Health NHS Foundation Trust to train frontline staff and take part in a national dental health survey in schools.

What is being done about the issue

They will also look at the main causes of general health and dental health problems to help plan future strategies. The early years team will organise oral health workshops for parents and help early year foundation stage providers like preschools, nurseries and school reception classes to attend training workshops.

Health visitors, registered nurses or midwives with extra training in public health nursing will give oral health advice at key stages from birth and hand out oral health packs. The oral health promotion team will provide yearly 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 fight tooth decay in children and includes awareness sessions for parents and carers.

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