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Dental Health: Children

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what indicators his Department uses to measure dental health in children; and what the figures for each indicator were for each primary care trust in each year since 1997. (221005)

We use the average number of decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMFT) in children resident in the area of each primary care trust. The information is collected from decennial national child dental health surveys and more frequent local surveys of five and 12-year-olds co-ordinated by the Public Health Observatory for the North West in collaboration with the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry. Results from the last national survey conducted in 2003 are available on the National Statistics website at:

www.statistics.gov.uk/children/dentalhealth/

Information from the other surveys is available at:

http://www.bascd.org/annual_survey_results.php

Since 1993, levels of tooth decay have fallen in most age groups. The most significant change has been in older children with a reduction in DMFT in 12-year-old children from 1.4 to 0.7, which means that this age group now has the best oral health in Europe.