Dental health surveys involving adults and children have been carried out across the UK since 1987. The information that comes from them allows NHS England area teams to plan dental services and health improvement teams to tailor programmes for groups where oral health is poor. The overall aim is to support actions to improve oral health, reduce health inequalities and improve the provision of treatment services.
The Community Dental Service carries out these surveys each year. As with all NHS employees the teams are covered by the Data Protection Act and take confidentiality very seriously. National and regional training is provided to ensure that high standards are kept and all teams work to the same level at all stages in the survey.
The information is recorded anonymously; no names, gender or complete dates of birth are recorded. All data is kept securely and datasets are securely sent to regional centres for uploading via a secure web portal to the national coordinating centre. This centre collates data from all over England and produces reports on levels of dental health for England as a whole and at a variety of local government and health organisation levels.
Following each dental inspection a letter will be sent home if we feel the child/adult would benefit from a more thorough examination with their general dental practitioner.
The Department of Health decide upon which group of people they would like the CDS team to study each year. This varies from year to year and a protocol is put in place to randomly select small groups from each Local Authority to be screened. This means that there are exclusions each time but they vary depending on the subject being screened.