Oral Health

When children and young people have poor oral health, it can affect their ability to do things such as sleep, eat, speak, play and socialise.

 Poor oral health can also have other repercussions for children, including time off nursery or school because they are in pain or need treatment. Parents may also have to take time off work to take their children to the dentist.

 The most common oral disease affecting children and young people today in the UK is tooth decay.

  • Nearly a quarter of five year old children have tooth decay and have on average three teeth affected by it.
  • 12% of three year old children have visible tooth decay with an average of three teeth affected.
  • Tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admission for children aged five to nine years old in 2014/15 with over 26.000 admissions.


What LEAP are doing

LEAP is working with Kings College London to develop a project to help parents learn how to look after their young children’s teeth (ages 0 – 4).

We want local residents to give us their views on how the project might work best with the people they know, such as their friends and family, the wider community and of course themselves. Things to think about include, who is the best person to give them advice? Where and how would they like to receive advice? What would be the best way to receive the advice?           

If you are a parent or carer and would like to share your views in a focus group on dental care for families and communities please contact LEAPadmin@ncb.org.uk,

The focus groups are being held on:

Findings from the focus groups will be included in a dissertation of a Kings College dental student and may also be presented at national/international conferences. The reports will not identify any focus group participant personally.

Top oral hygiene tips for babies and children

There are several things you can do to help your baby or child have healthier teeth:

  •  Brush your baby’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears (normally appears approximately six months of age).
  • Teeth should be brushed at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, last thing at night and at least one other time.
  • Brushing at bedtime ensures that the fluoride continues protecting their teeth while they sleep.
  • Children under three should use a ‘smear’ of toothpaste.
  • Parents/carers should brush or supervise tooth brushing until at least seven years of age.
  • Don’t rinse with water after brushing teeth as this rinses off fluoride from the teeth. Spitting out any leftover toothpaste is best.
  • Reduce the amount of sugary food and drinks from your children’s diet
  • Avoid foods and drinks containing sugar at bedtime. Sugar-free medicines are recommended.
  • Take children to visit the dentist for preventive advice as soon as possible – even before the arrival of the first tooth.