The Dentist Magazine.

Ground breaking report recognises that the oral health of children is essential to physical health

Published: 26/01/2017

A report published today by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) recognises the impact of poor oral health on a child’s physical health and quality of life. 

The State of Child Health report 2017 is welcomed by the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD) which gives unqualified support to its recommendations.

Referencing 25 measures of physical and mental health, the report includes tooth decay as an early years public health issue. Claire Stevens, a consultant in paediatric dentistry and BSPD media spokesperson, praised the RCPCH for compiling the report and raising the issue of health inequalities. Today, as the report was launched, she was at a discussion meeting for stakeholders and parliamentarians in Westminster.

Claire commented: “This is a ground breaking report and as the voice of children’s oral health, BSPD is pleased to be a stakeholder and to have contributed to the report. I trust that, as intended, the report will be a springboard for more campaigning and more change, especially in relation to early intervention and prevention in children’s oral health.

“We support all the recommendations contained in the report; the most important from the point of view of our patients is for universal early years public health services to be prioritised with targeted help for children and families experiencing poverty.

“At the stakeholder meeting BSPD organised last year, delegates called for collaboration among all professionals working to improve the health of children. We are delighted that thanks to the work of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and its new report, collaboration has been extended and intensified.

“The RCPCH report makes the point that the health of children in the UK has not improved at the same rate as in other wealthy countries and the stark inequalities in health have widened. This is not acceptable.

“BSPD also echoes the report’s call for the re-introduction of the Infant Feeding Survey which provides a very important picture of how babies are fed. This is critical to understanding the needs of parents as they feed and wean their babies.”

The BDA has commended the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) for including oral health in its comprehensive, though shocking, landmark report on child health and wellbeing in the UK.

Professor Damien Walmsley, the scientific adviser at the BDA, said,“The RCPCH’s report provides a helpful and informative snapshot of child health across the four nations in the UK. It’s also great to see that oral health has been recognised as an important measure of our children’s health and wellbeing.

“Nonetheless, it is depressing that the RCPCH confirms that the health of children in the UK has not improved at the same rate as in other wealthy countries and the stark inequalities in health have widened.

“The report, which benefits from dental expertise, provides clear guidance on how this situation can be reversed. It also echoes the BDA’s own recommendations which the Government must heed if it is serious about closing the alarming gap between rich and poor.”