Oral Health Survey of 3 Year Old Children 2019 - 2020

Date posted: Thursday 23 January

Public Health England national dental epidemiology programme in Cornwall

Dental health surveys involving children have been carried out across the UK since 1987. The information arising 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.

Local dentists will soon be contacting nurseries and playgroups in Cornwall. They will ask for your cooperation and provision of the lists of all children who may be included in the survey, showing dates of birth. From these lists they will identify children who will be the correct age on the day of examination. Explicit, written agreement to examine each child will then be sought via letters home to parents, which the team will provide. The ethnic classification and home postcode of children for whom parental agreement to have a dental examination has been received will be requested from site information.

Local fieldwork teams from community dental services usually carry out these surveys. As with all NHS employees the teams are covered by the Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulations 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.

On the day of examination, the team will set up their mobile equipment at an agreed location at the site and undertake brief examinations of the children’s teeth. These examinations take no more than a minute and, as the teams are child friendly, should cause no discomfort or distress.

The information relating to the dental examination is recorded without names, gender or complete dates of birth. All data is kept securely, and datasets are safely 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. At no point is any individual identifiable, as the data is anonymised from the examination stage and only ever reported or published as grouped data.

It is hoped that all sites contacted will be able to assist the fieldwork teams in this national survey which local authorities have a responsibility to procure by law. The teams try to keep disruption to a minimum and ensure the children involved have a positive experience with the dental team.

All queries please contact phdesk@cornwall.gov.uk