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Every 10 years since 1973, a survey of the dental health of children has been carried out. The Dental Health Survey of Children and Young People 2013 provides information to underpin and help plan dental health care for children in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The surveys help the NHS understand how the dental health of each generation of children is changing.
Managing the survey
The 2013 survey was carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on behalf of NHS Digital, with funding provided by the Department of Health for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. ONS is working in collaboration with the NatCen Social Research (NatCen), Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), 5 University Dental Schools (Birmingham, Cardiff, Newcastle, University College London and Kings College London) and NHS dentists.
As it's not possible to ask every school to take part in the survey, a sample of around 1,000 primary and secondary schools is chosen at random to represent schools throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A sample of children from within those schools is asked to take part in the study. We need children from all backgrounds to get an accurate picture.
What the survey involves
Each child will have a short check-up with a dentist at their school, with a nurse making notes. Children in secondary schools will also be asked to complete a short paper questionnaire about their dental health.
The dentist will not carry out any treatment but will just look at the teeth. Parents will be sent some basic feedback by letter about the check-up. If the dentist finds something they think should be looked at by the child's usual dentist, they will inform the child's parents in the letter. The survey check-up should not replace any dental check-ups or treatment.
Parents and guardians will also be sent a questionnaire, which gives them the chance to have their say about their child's dental treatment and care.
The survey covers:
the condition of the child's teeth
oral health attitudes and behaviours
dental care and treatment received
views about the dental service used
The answers from the questionnaire are put together with the answers collected from thousands of other people across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the survey findings are published in our publications section. The findings will not identify anyone who took part in the survey and results collected are only used for research purposes.
Those who take part in the survey will never receive any junk mail as a result of speaking to us. We never pass on details to other organisations for commercial purposes.