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Quarter of Bedford Borough’s 5-year-olds have dental decay, a new report reveals

Quarter of Bedford Borough’s 5-year-olds have dental decay, a new report reveals

An assessment of children’s oral health found a quarter of Bedford Borough’s five year olds had dental decay, with cases rising in the more deprived areas, and among children of Asian/Asian British or mixed heritage.

Dr Clare Oliver, specialty registrar in public health, told the Health and Wellbeing Board (Wednesday, September 7) this might be seen as visible decay, a filling, or an extracted tooth.

“And of those, one in four individuals have an average of four affected teeth,” she said.

A quarter of all five year olds in Bedford have dental decay

“Some kids will have five, six or seven teeth that have some sign of dental decay on them,” she said, “So obviously this is starting even earlier than five yearsold.

“Among three year olds, we found that approximately one in ten of them had some sign of dental decay, and those that had visible decay on average they had three affected teeth.

“That’s across Bedford Borough as a whole, but we know that there’re certain pockets, certain groups of children and young people who are more likely to be affected.

“And they include children and young people living in more deprived areas, those of Asian or Asian British ethnicity, and those of mixed ethnicity as well,” she said.

Dr Oliver said the report generated “a bunch” of recommendations, which includes continuing to share oral health information in secondary schools and colleges.

“Currently, a lot of information is provided to primary schools and earlier settings, but it kind of stops around about the age of 11,” Dr Oliver said.

“We’ve just finished co-creating a whole document with like hints and tips of how to overcome tooth-brushing challenges for children and young people.”

Councillor Dean Crofts (LibDems, Kingsbrook) shared his tip for getting children to clean their teeth – make it fun.

“I’ve got a four-year-old, and I remember when she became two we kind of created a mini disco, and we use songs to brush your teeth too and stuff like that.

“Now what she does is she talks to the Alexa app and there’s a two minute timer, she knows within that two minutes she’s got to push her teeth.

“So it’s about creating fun activities, I suppose,” he said.

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