Dental Surveys

Oral Health Surveys

What are Oral Health Surveys?

CDS has been undertaking oral health surveys for many years.  These are part of the NHS England Dental Public Health Programme and examine the dental health of groups in the population.  The survey provides reliable information about the number of children with tooth decay and how severe the decay is.  The surveys also indicate how many children have experienced dental care.

 Most of the surveys are with children and our dentists arrange visits to schools and randomly select children to participate.  The survey teams ask parents for consent to examine the children and the examination is very quick and simple.  We count the number of teeth and then record if the teeth have dental decay, fillings or have been extracted.  This information is recorded and then inputted to a secure database.  The same survey takes place across the whole country at the same time. This means we can compare the dental health between geographic areas such as local authorities and see how the dental health is changing over time.

 Who decides what Oral Health surveys will take place?

The local authority commissions each survey and we see five year old children quite regularly.  We do assess the dental health of other children such as 3 year olds and 12 year olds.  Sometimes there are surveys of adults and elderly people.

 What is the information used for?

The information is used to help plan local and National dental health services.  The data is used in so many ways and identifies those areas where children are most at need.  This means oral health promotion activities can be targeted to improve dental health and the NHS can focus dental manpower in these areas.

How will I know if my child has been selected to take part?

All surveys are conducted by positive consent and for young children we send a letter home to ask you if you would give your permission for your child to take part.  Children enjoy participating and we have a very good selection of stickers for the children to choose from once they have had their teeth counted.

Will the dentist let me know if my child’s teeth are healthy?

The simple examination does not replace a normal check up as we cannot take x-rays, but we can see if there are obvious oral health needs.

We send a letter home, indicating if your child’s mouth is healthy or if you might need to make an appointment for a more detailed check-up with your dentist.  There are contact details on the letter we send home and the dentist can give personal feedback from the details recorded.

Where the Oral Health surveys take place?

Oral Health surveys take place in schools and nurseries.  If an adult survey takes place the examination takes place in the volunteers home.

Can I access the results of the surveys?

The results are available on a website that can give you information about the most recent dental surveys, as well as surveys that took place several years ago.  The website address can be found in our useful links.

The dental public health team that analyse the results for England, produce reports that give an overview of the dental  health for each survey that has taken place.  These can be found in our Information leaflets.

Is the dental health of Bedfordshire good?

In summary,

  • Luton local authority has levels of tooth decay that are higher than the average for England. The children with higher levels of decay are clustered in particular wards. This indicates that efforts to improve oral health and reduce inequalities should be targeted at those areas. The prevalence of decay that is related to long term bottle use is higher than the national level. This suggests that action to discourage long term bottle use and the giving of drinks containing sugar will be needed if oral health levels are to be improved.
  •  Central Bedfordshire local authority has levels of decay that are lower than the average for England.
  • Bedford local authority has levels of tooth decay that are below the average for England.