FGDP(UK) welcomes new oral health requirement for schools

FGDP(UK) has welcomed the inclusion of oral health in new statutory guidance on health education for schools in England.

The UK was recently ranked the lowest of 13 countries for providing oral health education in schools, but the new guidance will require that both primary and secondary school pupils are taught about dental health, including the benefits of good oral hygiene, dental flossing and regular dental check-ups, the characteristics of a poor diet, and the risks associated with unhealthy eating, including tooth decay.

Health education is not currently mandatory in England, but will become a statutory duty when the guidance takes effect in September 2020, and schools are being encouraged to implement the new guidance in full from this year. Oral health is likely to be taught as part of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PHSE) lessons, which already take place in most state-funded schools in England.

Roshni Karia, Vice-Dean of FGDP(UK) and the Faculty’s representative on Public Health England’s Children’s Oral Health Improvement Programme Board, commented:

Many children and parents are still unsure about what good oral health looks like, and are unaware of its importance for general health. As dentists we only get the chance to provide this message to those that come to see us, but unfortunately up to a third of school-aged children don’t. So the inclusion of oral health in the school curriculum is fantastic news, and potentially a very significant moment in improving children’s oral health.”

 

Follow the links to read more:

Relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education: Statutory guidance for governing bodies, proprietors, head teachers, principals, senior leadership teams, teachers was published on 25 June 2019. See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education

The FDI World Dental Federation’s survey of oral health education, published in March 2019, asked 4,367 parents in 13 countries with children aged 5-16 whether their child’s school provided lessons on good oral care. See https://www.fdiworlddental.org/press-release/20190320/uk-schools-rank-last-in-providing-oral-health-education-survey-of-13

Analysis of NHS Digital data published in February 2019 by the Faculty of Dental Surgery (Royal College of Surgeons of England) showed that 32.7% of five to nine year olds, 27.6% of ten to fourteen year olds, and 41.4% of under-18s as a whole didn’t see an NHS dentist in 2018. See https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/news-and-events/media-centre/press-releases/1-to-4-years-dentist-stats/

Photo by Piotr Chrobot on Unsplash




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