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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.

As part of the Council of Ministers amended recommendations, Public Health are working on a number of initiatives with the aim of reducing tooth decay and dental caries in children in the Isle of Man.

Learn more about oral health in the Isle of Man

Biennial oral health survey of 5 year old children

Every other year Public Health collects information on the health of five year olds’ teeth. This is called a dental survey. The information helps to understand the oral health needs of children in the Isle of Man. Previous years have seen only a randomly selected sample of schools take part as part of the OHID (Office of Health Improvement and Disparities) National Dental Epidemiology Programme. This year, the programme will be expanding to a full-scale sample, meaning all five year olds in the Island will be given the opportunity to take part. The aim is to achieve a more accurate reflection of the oral health in children of this age group.

The dental survey will take place across the Island between the 22 April and 3 May 2024.

If you are the parent or carer of a child who is five years of age between the 22 April and 5 May, you will have been asked to take part via a letter home from school. If you are happy for your child to be included, you should complete the consent form and return it to your child’s school. A copy of the letter and consent form are available as a download on this page if you have misplaced them.

You can also find out more about the survey and answers to common questions by reading our information leaflet .

We encourage parents or carers to complete the consent form and return it to your school when you receive it. The results from the survey act as a benchmark for future work of improving oral health in this age group, and assist in the planning of dental services. The data gathered also helps us develop the Island’s Public Health Outcomes Framework dataset.

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.

Page reviewed: March 2024
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