BDA urges action on kids’ oral health

NDIP report shows progress but inequalities gap still remains

24 November, 2017 / infocus

The BDA has welcomed improvements in child dental health shown in the latest National Dental Inspection Programme (NDIP), but has called on the Scottish Government to do more to close the inequalities gap.

The latest NDIP report shows a continuing improvement in children’s dental health – overall 77 per cent of Primary 7 children (aged 11) were found to be free from tooth decay experience, an increase of 2 per cent from the last time this age cohort was inspected in 2015.

However, while there are more children from the most deprived backgrounds who are free from tooth decay – up 1.6 per cent from 64 per cent in 2015 – this is almost exactly the same change as in the least deprived group, meaning that inequalities have not been reduced.

The BDA says that the gap that exists between the most deprived and most affluent Scottish children has remained unchanged in the past four years. The absolute difference (21 per cent) in children who are free from caries in 2017 is exactly the same as it was in 2013 and 2015.

Robert Donald, chair of the BDA’s Scottish Dental Practice Committee, praised the effect the Childsmile programme has had on children’s oral health in Scotland but said: “Despite this improvement, Scotland is still struggling to close the gap on persistent inequalities that exist between children from the most deprived backgrounds and the
most affluent.

“Too many children from our most disadvantaged communities still bear the burden of tooth decay, which is a preventable disease.”

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