Tooth decay four times higher in deprived areas of Sheffield

Councillors will consider an update on tooth decay in Sheffield
Councillors will consider an update on tooth decay in Sheffield

Children in some deprived areas of the city have four times more tooth decay than youngsters in other parts.

A Sheffield Council report into oral and dental health revealed that inequality persists in levels of child tooth decay across the city, with a fourfold difference between areas with the highest and lowest levels, and there is a 'clear link' between deprivation and levels of tooth decay.

There are also calls for the local authority to consider water fluoridation - the control addition of fluoride to a public water supply to reduce tooth decay.

A report to the council's health communities and adult social care scrutiny and policy development committee, said it was 12 years since the council debated water fluoridation and officers are talking to Public Health England about a new review into it.

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Councillors looked into oral and dental health in Sheffield last year and made several recommendations.

They will meet on Wednesday to discuss responses from NHS England and the director of Public Health.

The report by Debbie Hanson, health improvement principal for Public Health at Sheffield Council, said: "Despite all the hard work that goes into oral health promotion, inequality persists in levels of child tooth decay across the city, with a fourfold difference between areas with the highest and lowest levels.

"There is also a clear link between deprivation and levels of child tooth decay.

"The report presented to the committee clearly indicated the importance of increasing children's exposure to fluoride in fighting decay, and the effectiveness of water fluoridation in ensuring all children benefit from fluoride."

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The report added there has been a 'steady increase' in the amount of child courses of treatment in Sheffield which contains fluoride varnish application - which provides extra protection against tooth decay when used in addition to brushing

Between October and December 2017, 72.5 per cent of Sheffield dental practices were carrying out treatment for children which contained it - up from 56 per cent in 2015/16. However five practices achieved less than 40 per cent.

More than 80 toothbrushing clubs have been set up in schools and nurseries across the city.

The council is exploring other funding to continuing the extended tooth brushing club including Sheffield International Venues and the use of their sugar tax on fizzy drinks.

Councillors also asked for the possible of toothpaste and toothbrushes to be made available through food banks, due to their increasing use in some areas of the city, however the report said that there is no money to do this, but work is continuing to try and get oral health in any community wellbeing programmes,

Projects have also been taking place in schools, nurseries, residential homes and at health fairs to promote oral health.

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