Schools in the UK have been found to be the worst for educating children about their oral health. According to the findings of a new YouGov survey, less than one in three (29%) British children aged between five and 16 are given lessons about the importance of good oral care.
Mexico top the global list, where more than nine in ten (93%) school children are being taught about the importance of oral health. The UK are also significantly behind the United States (53%), Australia (54%), Germany (69%), China (77%), Brazil and India (91%).
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, is calling on ministers to give oral health a more prominent place in the curriculum.
“Teachers have an important role to play in educating children from an early age about their wellbeing and oral health should fall within this,” he said. “The government continues to ignore the importance of oral hygiene for a young person’s overall wellbeing. Oral health is absent in the school curriculum and our children are suffering as a result.
“Scotland and Wales have had some success in educating youngsters through a designated oral health programme, but England is lagging behind. A collective, co-ordinated plan is needed.”
Tooth decay is the number one reason for hospital admissions among children in the UK, with extractions estimated to have cost the NHS over £200m since 2012.