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HomeMore NewsHertfordshire's tooth decay hospital admissions second highest in East of England

Hertfordshire’s tooth decay hospital admissions second highest in East of England

Rates of hospital admissions for tooth decay in Hertfordshire are the second highest in the East of England, a report to councillors has revealed.

Herts County Council’s Impact Scrutiny Committee will meet on Friday, June 14, to discuss a number of preventative healthcare measures – among them dental care.

Prevention of disease has been cited by the council’s public health team as the most effective approach in improving the population’s health and life expectancy.

Access to dental care in early years is therefore one of the areas being targeted for improvement.

A report prepared for Friday’s meeting states: “Tooth decay is the most common oral disease affecting children and young people in England.

“The rates of hospital admissions for dental caries in Hertfordshire are the second highest in the East of England, at a rate of 92 per 100,000 (data for 2021/22 – 2022/23). Health inequalities in oral health exist, with children from the most deprived areas having more than twice the level of decay.

“Tooth decay causes problems with eating, sleeping, communication and socialising and results in 60,000 days being missed from school during the year for hospital extractions alone.

“Public health messages and interventions to address child obesity also benefit oral decay, due to the link to high sugar food and drink consumption to both. The consumption of these products also increases the risk of Type 2 Diabetes in children.

“In Hertfordshire, Public Health has established strong working relationships with the ICB to tackle child oral health. Recently, the ICB and HCC have committed to jointly commissioning the National Dental Epidemiological Programme (NDEP). This is a survey of all 5-year-old children and provides an annual snapshot of oral health in children.

“Public Health also commissions NHS Special Care Dental services to deliver pop up oral health clinics in our most deprived areas. These highly valued and successful clinics are also supported by the Family Support Service and Public Health Nurses, providing the opportunity to link families into relevant health and wellbeing services.

“Public Health also commission a targeted oral health screening programme and supervised brushing scheme in primary schools. Alongside this, [we are] commissioning a Healthy Mouths project delivered through Public Health Nursing and Family Support Service.

“The Hertfordshire Child Oral Health Alliance is due to be relaunched with an extended focus on child and adult oral health.

“The priorities for this alliance will be informed by the recently completed Oral Health JSNA profile and co-chaired between Public Health and the ICB.”

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