YOUNG children in Portsmouth have better teeth on average than those in the rest of the country, a report has shown.
Between 2014 and 2015 just 18 per cent of five-year-olds in Portsmouth had tooth decay compared to 25 per cent in England. The figures came as part of a study for Portsmouth City Council’s health and overview committee.
But Claire Currie, consultant in public health at Portsmouth City Council, believed more could be done.
She said: ‘It’s positive news that Portsmouth has lower levels of tooth decay in five-year-olds than the England average but we’re actively working to reduce this figure even further.
‘It is important to remember that across the country, children living in more deprived circumstances are more likely to have tooth decay – this will also be the case in Portsmouth. We therefore encourage all families to look after their teeth to prevent tooth decay.
‘Not only is tooth decay painful for children, which may affect concentration, but it can lead to them missing school due to toothache and to attend dentist appointments.
‘Establishing good oral health at a young age is more likely to lead to healthy teeth well into adulthood, and some of the advice for avoiding teeth decay also has other benefits, for example reducing obesity.
‘From the research we’ve done so far it’s become clear that not all parents are aware of the key things they should be doing to avoid their child getting tooth decay so it’s important that we do everything we can to promote the following advice.’
She cited the city’s university as an asset. ‘We are fortunate that the University of Portsmouth dental academy runs programmes with primary schools in the city to instil good oral health practices into the daily routine,’ she said.
‘We’re working with the academy to produce an animated video for young children and their parents with advice on how children should be looking after their teeth. We’re developing this video with input from parents and children to ensure it’s as helpful as possible and we look forward to sharing it with all families.’