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Children's Oral Health

Girl Brushing her teeth

Poor oral health is known to affect children both physically and psychologically - as tooth decay is preventable. Although largely preventable, tooth decay remains the most common oral disease affecting children and young people.

Children with poor oral health may have severe caries and may commonly experience:

  • Pain
  • Discomfort
  • Disfigurement
  • Acute and chronic infections
  • Eating disruptions
  • Sleep disruptions

Alongside the physical effects, children with poor oral health are almost three times more likely to miss days from school as a result of the dental pain, which can then impact school performance and the child’s ability to learn.

Biennial oral health survey of 5 year old children

Every other year, five year olds from a random selection of primary schools across the Island are asked to take part in the dental survey. If consent is given, the children's teeth are checked and the health of the teeth are recorded. This data is then used to help us understand the overall health of children's teeth on the Island. It has been collected over the last 14 years as part of the Public Health Outcomes Framework. As tooth decay is preventable, we should be able to improve levels of good oral health on the Isle of Man.

Importance of toothbrushing

The foundation for healthy permanent teeth in children is laid during the first year of life. When baby teeth are damaged or destroyed by decay, permanent teeth have no guide to move into their proper position, resulting in crowded or crooked adult teeth. If left untreated, decay can also spread from the baby tooth to the permanent tooth forming underneath.

It is essential to establish a proper oral hygiene routine early in life to help ensure the development of strong, healthy teeth.

Twice-daily brushing at home should take place every day, once in the morning and once at night, just before bed.

Key links for further information

Please see the below web pages for more information on oral and general health:

Page reviewed: November 2023

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