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Agenda item

Children's Oral Health Improvement Strategy

Members will receive the report which outlines the work that has been undertaken by the Oral Health Improvement Advisory Group (OHIAG) in developing a strategy to improve oral health for children within the City of York.




Members received the report which outlined the work undertaken by the Oral Health Improvement Advisory Group (OHIAG) in developing a strategy to improve oral health for children within the City of York.  This work had been in response to a previous performance report to a Scrutiny Committee which had highlighted that hospital admissions for dental caries for children aged 0-4 in York were higher than the England average and the Scrutiny Committee’s requested that further work be carried out to understand the reasons for this and what recommendations might be needed to improve this.


Fiona Phillip, the Assistant Director Public Health was in attendance to present the report and to respond to questions.


The following information was provided in response to questions from committee members:


·        86 percent of children attend a dentist regularly in York which is higher than the national figures. 

·        Attendance for children aged 0-2 was very low.  This is a national phenomenon.

·        Officers considered that children in York had access to an NHS dentist.

·        Officers explained that If a parent was unable to register their child at a local dentist this would be the responsibility of NHS England.  A GP or health professional could refer them to a community dental service located at Micklegate.

·        There is a correlation with deprivation and oral health and perhaps understanding the value and necessity of dental appointments.  Westfield is an example.  There is plenty of provision but lower take up of dental appointments.  Annex 1 of the officer report had provided information on dental attendance by ward.

·        To improve oral care for children we would need to improve the knowledge of social carers, nurses, school workers etc. who could enquire/notice whether children brush teeth regularly and visit the dentist. 

·        Dental tooth decay in those under the age of four is a big indicator that care is not being taken of oral health.

·        The oral health strategy links in well with other health strategies such as healthy weight, food policies and advice to mothers on ways of feeding.  A key area of work would be to link with these types of strategies.

·        There is a small budget within Public Health to commission communication services.

·        In York between 1 and 200 children a year are referred to hospital to have a tooth extracted under general anaesthesia.  Officers did not know the reason for this.  This would require further questioning of NHS England. 

·        There are highly trained dentists in York who work with children with particular anxiety in relation to dental visits and with those who have special needs.  Perhaps extending that training would assist in reducing the number of children referred to hospital. 

The committee agreed to invite NHS England to a future meeting to discuss the referral pathway for children for tooth extractions under anaesthesia.  Members wanted further information on why tooth extraction for children was administered under general rather than local anaesthesia.  Members also sought further information on the preventative work undertaken on this aspect.


Resolved: That the committee:

(i)           Noted the Children’s Oral Health Improvement

Strategy and support its implementation.

(ii)         Requested that NHS England be invited to report to the January or February 2020 committee on the work they are undertaking on tooth extractions under anaesthesia across the region.

Reason:     To keep the committee informed of issues relating to the oral health of children in York and provide assurance that action is being taken to address any areas where concerns are raised.

Supporting documents:


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