The levels of dental decay in young children is worryingly high, with it being the most prevalent childhood disease. In England, treatment of decay is the most common reason young children (over 30,000 a year) undergo a general anaesthetic, costing the NHS £50.5 million a year. Although treatable, it has a substantial negative impact on children, families and society.
Bradford has the highest rates of childhood dental decay in Yorkshire, with almost 40% of children aged 5 having evidence of dental decay. The burden of decay is significant. Decay causes pain and suffering, as well as affecting what children eat, their speech, quality of life, self-esteem, and social confidence. In addition, decay has a wider societal impact on school readiness and attendance.
To date, limited research has been undertaken investigating oral health and education. The oral health research team are undertaking several projects to explore this important topic.