The Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP) has welcomed confirmation of plans to deliver oral health education to young children in England.
The announcement was made following the Department for Education’s consultation on reforms to the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, which day nurseries, childminders, nursery schools and school reception classes must follow.
Oral health will be included in revised safeguarding and welfare requirements, making it a mandatory teaching topic from September 2021, and some early adopter schools will use the new framework from September 2020. Oral health has also recently been added to the primary and secondary syllabuses, starting this September.
Earlier this year, FGDP submitted a supportive response to the consultation, highlighting that despite tooth decay being almost entirely preventable, tooth extraction remains the number one reason why children are admitted to hospital, and arguing that many children and parents are unaware of the importance of good oral health.
FGDP(UK) Board member Roshni Karia, the Faculty’s representative on Public Health England’s Children’s Oral Health Improvement Programme Board, said:
"Six in ten under-5s, and 40% of under-18s, are not brought to see a dentist in a given year, and the UK was recently ranked the lowest of 13 countries for providing oral health education in schools. So the inclusion of oral health in the early years curriculum is very welcome news. This will help engender good habits early, and provide children with a good foundation upon which to build their knowledge of oral health in their primary and secondary years."
FGDP(UK) consultation responses are available on our Policy, Reports and Consultations page.