Brent has seen the biggest drop in tooth decay in the capital, according to recent health figures.
The latest Oral Health Survey, which is published by Public Health England, shows there has been a 15.1 per cent decrease in the number of 5 year olds with tooth decay since 2012 – the biggest decrease in the capital.
Camden saw the second highest decrease of 12.8 per cent in the same period, whereas Newham saw the third biggest decrease of 10.7 per cent.
The significant decrease in Brent follows the decision to make children’s oral health a public health priority and the introduction of a series of council preventative programmes, including a school-outreach programme where children’s teeth are varnished with fluoride, encouraging regular dental check-ups of children from toddler age, and by rolling out a ‘Slash Sugar’ campaign warning of the damage sugary foods and drink can do.
Tooth decay is entirely preventable but the reality is that one in four 5 year olds have tooth decay in London. This has a huge knock on impact on a child’s long term future so it is crucial that we tackle the issue. This is why it is so important that we work with all partners and the public to improve child oral health in Brent.
The need for regular brushing, avoiding sugary snacks and drinks and the importance of regular dentist visits for children over the age of one is fundamental to prevention.
Although the large decrease is really promising, we know that there is still much to be done. We will keep working hard to educate children and their parents about preventative measures and healthy lifestyle choices to try and reduce rates of decay even further.
Much has been made of the fact that over the decades Quality Street tins have been getting smaller.
Here’s the alternative view.
Our Slash Sugar campaign has been raising awareness about the amount of sugar in the nation’s favourite treats. The rate of Type 2 diabetes in Brent is soaring and the knock on health impacts are devastating.
In Brent, survey results suggest that 54% of adults are either overweight or obese. Around 23% of England’s adult population are obese.
Type 2 diabetes rates in Brent are particularly high compared to other parts of the UK. The average recorded level of diagnosed diabetes on GP registers in England was 6% in 2012/13. Over the same period 7.8% of people on GP lists in Brent were recorded as having diabetes (23,030 people).
The prevalence of diabetes in Brent is projected to rise. By 2030, it is estimated that nearly 15% of people aged 16 and over in Brent will have diabetes compared to the predicted England average of about 9% – hence the need to have such campaigns to influence people to change their eating habits.
In addition, the impact on childrens oral health and childhood obesity is also of great concern. Brent ranks among the poorest authorities in the country in oral health for children under five. In 2011/12, 45.9% of five-year-olds showed signs of dental decay, which is worse than the England average. Childhood obesity is the single biggest predictor of adulthood obesity and can increase the risk factors for many clinical conditions throughout a person’s whole life cycle.
Christmas is a difficult time to sell this message but I suppose that at a time when supermarket aisles will be filled with Quality Street-like products, maybe it is isn’t such a bad thing that the portions are now smaller!
The Melting Pot at the Brent Civic Centre is already offering a free piece of fruit with lunch on Tuesday as part of Sugar Free Tuesday.
Starbucks has also cut 50p off all sugar free drinks on Tuesdays too. We attracted a bit of interest from Starbucks after the store manager made this move and it seems that the wider franchise are also taking notice.
We’ve been told that Starbucks stores in Watford and Luton in the South East region will also be following suit and knocking off 50p on sugar free drinks following the success of the campaign already in Brent!