North and South Dental health Divide Revealed

A new report has been published that reveals a stark difference between the dental health of children in the North of England compared to those in the South.

The report found that those in the South East have generally better dental health and for those in the North, it is generally poorer.

The report, published by The Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation also found that the divide between more deprived areas and less deprived areas is “huge”.

“As a nation, our dental health is improving, but it is shocking that your income or where you live can still determine your dental health, how likely you are to be hospitalised with dental problems and how easily you can access the dental treatment you need.” Says report author Prof. John Appleby, director for research of the Nuffield Trust.

“We know that poor oral health is linked to other health problems like obesity, alcohol consumption and smoking, so it makes sense to involve dentists more in plans to address these problems. But unless more efforts are made to tackle the inequalities we identify and embed prevention of ill health across dentistry, the progress made over the past few decades in improving the nations dental health could stall”.

Key Report Findings:

  • Children in Blackburn and Darwen local authority area were 4 times more likely to have missing, decayed or filled teeth than children in South Gloucestershire in 2015; just 44% of children in Blackburn were free from decay compared with 86% in Gloucestershire.
  • 83% of 5 year olds in the least deprived areas of the country had healthy teeth, compared to 70% in the most deprived areas in 2014/5
  • In Yorkshire, hospitalisation for tooth extractions in under 10’s was 5 times higher than in the east of England in 2015/6 (845 per 100,000 population compared with 160 per 100,000)
  • People from the most deprived backgrounds were twice as likely (14%) to be hospitalised for dental work than those that were better off (7%) in 2015
  • 18% of parents with children on free school meals found it difficult to find an NHS dentist in 2013 compared with 11% of parents whose children were not