Improving the oral health of children is a priority for this Government.
Alongside local authorities’ duties to improve health, including oral health, Public Health England is leading a wide ranging multi agency programme focussing on improving children’s oral health. They have established a Child Health Improvement Programme Board which supports evidenced based actions that will increase the use of fluoride (toothpaste, varnish, water fluoridation). This is in addition to the childhood obesity plan which sets out measures that will reduce the amount of sugar children consume.
NHS England are leading the Starting Well programme which will work in 13 high needs areas to reach children most at risk of tooth decay who are not currently seeing a dentist. Alongside this NHS England is also developing a complementary Starting Well Core offer, a commissioning approach designed to facilitate increased access and early preventive care for young children. The offer will be made available during 2018, with commissioners making local decisions on use based on their assessment of need locally.
Nationally, NHS England and the Department are testing new ways of providing National Health Service dental care focussed on preventing future dental disease. The aim is to deliver a new contract which improves oral health whilst increasing dental access. An evaluation report covering the first full year of testing the prototype approach is due to be published shortly.