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Child Dental Health Survey 2013, England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Publication date: 09:30 March 19, 2015

Summary

Child Dental Health Survey 2013, England, Wales and Northern Ireland

The 2013 Children's Dental Health (CDH) Survey, commissioned by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, is the fifth in a series of national children's dental health surveys that have been carried out every ten years since 1973.

The 2013 survey provides statistical estimates on the dental health of 5, 8, 12 and 15 year old children in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, using data collected during dental examinations conducted in schools on a random sample of children by NHS dentists and nurses. The survey measures changes in oral health since the last survey in 2003, and provides information on the distribution and severity of oral diseases and conditions in 2013.

The survey oversampled schools with high rates of free school meal eligibility to enable comparison of children from lower income families* (children eligible for free school meals in 2013) with other children of the same age, in terms of their oral health, and related perceptions and behaviours*.

The 2013 survey dental examination was extended so that tooth decay (dental caries) could be measured across a range of detection thresholds. This reflects the way in which the detection and management of tooth decay has evolved towards more preventive approaches to care, rather than just providing treatment for disease. This survey provides estimates for dental decay across the continuum of caries, including both restorative and preventive care needs*.

Complementary information on the children's experiences, perceptions and behaviours relevant to their oral health was collected from parents and 12 and 15 year old children using self-completion questionnaires. The self-completion questionnaire for older children was introduced for the 2013 survey.

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*In 2013 when this survey took place, a free school meal was a statutory benefit available only to school aged children from families who received other qualifying benefits (such as Income Support).

*Differences in clinical outcomes between socio-economic groups are likely to reflect different attitudes, behaviours and experiences relevant to oral health that may also be mediated through other demographic characteristics such as ethnicity and country of birth

*Estimates from the four detection thresholds measured in the 2013 survey are available in Report 2.


Key Facts

There were reductions in the extent and severity of tooth decay present in the permanent teeth of 12 and 15 year olds overall in England, Wales and Northern Ireland between 2003 and 2013. Large proportions of children, however, continue to be affected by disease, and the burden of disease is substantial in those children that have it.

In 2013, nearly a half (46 per cent) of 15 year olds and a third (34 per cent) of 12 year olds had "obvious decay experience" in their permanent teeth. This was a reduction from 2003, when the comparable figures were 56 per cent and 43 per cent respectively.

The proportions of children with some untreated decay into dentine in permanent teeth have also reduced, from 32 per cent to 21 per cent of 15 year olds and from 29 per cent to 19 per cent of 12 year olds.

In 2013, nearly a third (31 per cent) of 5 year olds and nearly a half (46 per cent) of 8 year olds had obvious decay experience in their primary teeth. Untreated decay into dentine in primary teeth was found in 28 per cent of 5 year olds and 39 per cent of 8 year olds.

Children who were from lower income families (eligible for free school meals) are more likely to have oral disease than other children of the same age.

A fifth (21 per cent) of the 5 year olds who were eligible for free school meals had severe or extensive tooth decay, compared to 11 per cent of 5 year olds who were not eligible for free school meals.

A quarter (26 per cent) of the 15 year olds who were eligible for free school meals had severe or extensive tooth decay, compared to 12 per cent of 15 year olds who were not eligible for free school meals

Oral health affects the health and wellbeing of older children and their families.

A fifth of 12 and 15 year olds (22 per cent and 19 per cent respectively) reported experiencing difficulty eating in the past three months.

More than a third (35 per cent) of 12 year olds and more than a quarter (28 per cent) of 15 year olds reported being embarrassed to smile or laugh due to the condition of their teeth.

Overall, 58 per cent of 12 year olds and 45 per cent of 15 year olds reported that their daily life had been affected by problems with their teeth and mouth in the past three months.

More than a third (35 per cent) of the parents of 15 year olds reported that their child's oral health had impacted on family life in the last six months; 23 per cent of the parents of 15 year olds took time off work because of their child's oral health in that period.


Coverage

Date Range: 01 September 2013 to 31 July 2014
Geographical coverage: England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Geographical granularity: Country

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