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FDS backs calls to abolish postcode lottery in children’s oral health

10 Apr 2018

The Faculty of Dental Surgeons at the Royal College of Surgeons is backing calls today from children’s doctors to give every child an equal opportunity to good dental health. 

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has said areas where there are significant oral health problems should prioritise children’s oral health in their Health and Wellbeing strategies and use successful schemes, such as supervised tooth brushing in nurseries, to improve outcomes and reduce health inequalities.

Responding to RCPCH’s call, Professor Michael Escudier, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS), at the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), said:

“The Faculty of Dental Surgery welcomes the campaign launched by RCPCH today calling for councils to give every child an equal opportunity to good dental health.

“The number of children under the age of ten needing hospital treatment because of tooth decay is twice as high as the number needing help for a broken arm1. This is utterly unacceptable, especially when you consider that tooth decay is 90% preventable by eating less sugar, brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and visiting the dentist regularly.

“Around 80% of children aged 1-2 did not see an NHS dentist last year2. Too many people remain unaware that NHS dental treatment is free for all under 18s, and children should be making their first visit to the dentist by age one. 

“If we can get to children early and teach them the simple steps to good oral health, they have a much better chance of avoiding the trauma that comes with having to have teeth removed under general anaesthetic. One way of doing this is through supervised tooth brushing sessions in nurseries, primary schools and breakfast clubs. RCPCH has highlighted successful local programmes doing just this and we would like to see such schemes rolled-out across England.”

Notes to editors

1. Hospital Admitted Patient Care stats for 2016-17 (

Condition  Admissions for 0-9s
 Dental caries  34,205
 Asthma  19,584
 Asthma  17,989
 Status asthmaticus    1,595
 Arm Fractures  17,225
 Fracture of forearm  10,359
 Fracture of shoulder and upper arm  5,383
 Fracture at wrist and hand level  1,483
 Epilepsy  10,397
 Epilepsy  8,965
 Status epilepticus  1,432
 Appendicitis  3,805
 Acute appendicitis  3,240
 Unspecified appendicitis  530
 Other appendicitis  35

2. The most recent NHS Digital statistics show that 78.4% of children aged 1-2 did not see an NHS dentist in the 12 months to 31 December 2017.

3. The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling dentists and specialists to provide patients with the highest possible standards of practice and care. Registered charity number: 212808. For more information please visit 

4. For more information, please contact the RCS Press Office
Telephone: 020 7869 6047/6052/6229
For out of hours media enquiries: 07966 486832

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