National and local context
Why is this topic an issue and what (if anything) has already been done about it?
Measures of poor oral health among young children are valuable outcome indicators of wider ill health and sub-optimal upbringing in early life. Poor baby feeding practices, poor weaning habits and poor diets lead not only to poor dental health but also to higher risks of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers in later life.
Poor oral health in itself causes problems for children and their families, children's services and unscheduled care services. Dental pain and infection leads to lost sleep, days off school, days off work for carers, poor concentration and a narrow choice of foods.
Extraction of decayed teeth is the main reason for admission of children to hospital in the North West.
Dental decay is caused by a poor diet which is high in sugar, along with infrequent exposure to fluoride due to rare use of fluoride toothpaste.
Oral health is poor in the Manchester population and the main conditions, dental decay (caries) and poor gum health (periodontitis) are widespread but much could be done to control them. The costs of providing treatment for routine and urgent care are high.
The Public Health Outcomes Framework specifies oral health among five year olds as a key indicator.
This reflects the importance the coalition government has laid on improving oral health among children and reducing inequalities.
Much has been done in Manchester to reduce levels of dental disease and this activity continues to develop.