Tackling poor oral health in children: local government's public health role

Large numbers of young children have teeth extracted under general anaesthesia in hospital because of dental decay.

Tooth decay is the most common oral disease affecting children and young people in England, yet it is largely preventable.

This publication has been updated for 2016 following the successful transfer of commissioning responsibilities of the Healthy Child Programme for 0-5 year olds to local government in October 2015. This includes the commissioning of Health Visitors who lead and support delivery of preventive programmes for infants and children including providing advice on oral health and on breastfeeding and reducing the risk of tooth decay. Local authorities also have a statutory responsibility to provide or commission oral health improvement programmes to improve the health of the local population, to the extent that they consider appropriate in their areas.