Oral health is important to overall health and wellbeing. It can promote good communication, good nutrition and reduces discomfort from the teeth or mouth. Toothache, infections and tooth loss can have a significant effect on wellbeing and the condition of our teeth has a direct effect on other serious health issues
The World Health Organisation defines oral health in broad terms. ‘It means more than simply having ‘good teeth’: oral health is integral to general health, is essential for wellbeing, and is a determinant of quality of life. It allows us to speak, smile, kiss, touch, taste, chew, swallow and cry. Poor oral health ‘restricts activities in school, at work and at home causing millions of school and work hours to be lost each year the world over. Moreover, the psychosocial impact of these diseases often significantly diminishes quality of life’.
The first ever nationally coordinated survey to assess the dental health of 3 year old children in Knowsley was undertaken in the school year of 2012/2013. The results of this survey showed that the percentage of 3 year old children in Knowsley (10.5%) who have experienced decay by this age was lower than both the North West regional average (14.3%) and the English average.
In 2013, 0.5% of all 0-4 year olds’ admissions to hospital in Knowsley were for dental treatment under general anaesthesia (17). This proportion was higher than both the North West regional average of 0.4% and national English average of 0.3%.
Children living in deprived communities tend to have poorer oral health than their counterparts living in more affluent communities resulting in inequalities in the oral health of children across the borough.
The full JSNA for oral health can be accessed here: JSNA Oral Health