Just under a third of five-year-olds in the East Midlands have tooth decay

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Figures released by Public Health England show 27.5 per cent of five year-olds in the East Midlands have tooth decay.

But the Oral Health Survey shows this has fallen from 29.8 per cent in 2012 and 30.8 per cent in 2008.

Nationally, the number of five year-olds suffering from tooth decay has dropped to its lowest level in almost a decade - less than 25 per cent of the cohort suffers from tooth decay, a 20 per cent drop since 2008.

This continues the downward trend seen since 2008, when 31 per cent of five year-olds suffered tooth decay. In 2012 it was 27 per cent.

The pattern of dental health improvement among the age group shows the impact parents and carers can have in establishing good dental care habits from an early age.

Dr Sandra White, director of dental public health at Public Health England, said: “This is great news. However, one child with tooth decay is one too many and there is still much inequality in dental health around the country.

“Tooth decay is painful and too often results in teeth extraction, some under general anaesthetic.

“This is further evidence that we can stop tooth decay in its tracks.

“Limiting sugary food and drink, supporting children to brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and regular trips to the dentist, will help prevent a great many more children suffering at the hands of tooth decay.”

The survey also shows that across the country, the average number of teeth affected by decay per child was 0.8, down from 1.1 in 2008. For the first time data has also been collected on ethnicity and dental health.

Nationally, there has been an increase of 9 per cent in the proportion of children with no obvious decay since 2008.

Further analysis is needed to understand the factors that have contributed to this welcome trend.

This will help local authorities identify the steps they can take to extend the improvement in decay levels to all sectors of their populations.