Child Dental Health

Child Dental Health in London: Keeping the tooth fairy away

Date published: 
05 June 2019

The London Assembly Health Committee has published the report ‘Child Dental Health: Keeping the tooth fairy away’.

The report investigates the state of child dental health in London and what could be done to improve it.

Key Facts

  • By the age of five, more than a quarter of our kids are suffering from tooth decay.
  • Child dental health is very unequal across London. Outcomes vary from 14% of 5-year-olds with tooth decay in Bexley to 40% in Harrow.
  • More than a third (35%) of 12-year-olds reported being embarrassed to smile or laugh due to the condition of their teeth.
  • Poor dental health also has a lot of knock-on effects on children’s development and mental health. It can impact a child’s ability to sleep, eat, speak, play and socialise with other children.

Key Findings

  • One in every 12 children aged 0-2 are registered with a dentist in Croydon
  • Two thirds of parents in London don’t know that all child dental care is free – parents need to be more informed.
  • Child dental health needs a rounded approach. Everyone should be involved – parents, GPSs, school nurses, teachers etc. - not just dentists.
  • The environment that our children live in affects their food choices and that of their parents.


The report made a total of 7 recommendations to the Mayor.

Among these recommendations are:

  • Schools should be sugar free by 2022.
  • There should be supervised brushing in schools
  • Every child in London needs to see a dentist at least by age one.
  • The Mayor should appoint a specialist in children’s dental health to the Child Obesity’s Taskforce

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