Supporting dental teams and families to prevent and manage dental decay in children

New guidance published today by the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) supports dental teams to improve and maintain the oral health of younger patients. The second edition of Prevention and Management of Dental Caries in Children provides clear and practical recommendations and advice on the provision of dental care to prevent and, if necessary, manage dental decay in children.

The guidance builds on the success of the first edition, which is used extensively both in dental practice and as an educational resource in Scotland and in several other countries. It takes into account changes in research evidence, national policy and legislation since it was first published in 2010 and has been updated using SDCEP’s NICE accredited methodology. 

The guidance is endorsed by several Royal Colleges dental faculties, the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry and Scotland’s national Childsmile programme, which is aimed at improving children’s oral health and reducing inequalities.

Co-chair of the group that developed the guidance, Professor Nicola Innes, said:

"In recent years we have seen significant reductions in the level of dental decay in children across Scotland and the UK. Despite this, dental decay is a major problem for those children who are affected. These children often have caries in several teeth and a high chance of pain and infection.

We hope the second edition of this guidance will continue to assist members of the dental team and others involved in oral health promotion to provide care for these children. We have updated the recommendations on caries prevention and provided more extensive advice, particularly concerning decisions about caries management. To cater for different types of users of the guidance, SDCEP has created both a detailed version and a summary ‘Guidance in Brief’.”

SDCEP is a National Dental Advisory Committee (NDAC) initiative working within NHS Education for Scotland (NES). SDCEP supports improvements in the quality of dental care by providing user-friendly guidance on topics that are priorities for dental healthcare.

Dr David Felix, Postgraduate Dental Dean for Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland (NES) said:

“NES welcomes the publication of Prevention and Management of Dental Caries as a valuable resource for dental professionals in Scotland and beyond. The work of the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme supports the delivery of high quality healthcare which is safe, person-centred and effective by promoting new thinking and the adoption of research evidence into clinical practice. The various endorsements of the guidance are important in signifying broad professional support for it. Members of the development group are to be congratulated on their achievement in updating this guidance."

Further information on the work of SDCEP is available at from where the new guidance can also be downloaded.


Editors Notes



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The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) is a nationally recognised body that represents over 4,000 Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists across the UK and beyond.

BSDHT maintain an on-going dialogue with the General Dental Council (GDC), the Departments of Health and all of the main groups representing dental care professionals, and attends meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dentistry, bringing dental hygiene and therapy to the attention of government ministers and MP’s.

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