City achieves improvement in children’s dental health

Published on 10 May 2016

NEW figures issued by Public Health England today show a significant reduction in the number of five-year-olds in Leicester with tooth decay.

The figures show an 8% reduction in tooth decay from 2011/12 to 2014/15. There has also been a significant improvement in the proportion of five year-olds that are decay-free, going up from 47% to 55% in the same period.

Leicester city council’s public health team has worked hard to reduce children’s tooth decay through its Healthy Teeth, Happy Smiles programme.

Cllr Rory Palmer, deputy city mayor and chair of the Leicester health and wellbeing board said: “This is a major step forward in tackling a serious health issue in Leicester.

“We launched our Happy Teeth, Healthy Smiles initiative in 2014 with the aim of reducing tooth decay in the under-five’s by 10%, by 2019.

“These new figures show that we have already achieved a reduction of 8% in just two years, which is a significant improvement.

“We have always said that tackling tooth decay in the city would require a long-term commitment and would not be something we could change overnight, so we are well aware that there is still a major challenge ahead, but we are definitely heading in the right direction.”

Healthy Teeth, Happy Smiles aims to encourage parents to take an active role in protecting their children’s oral health, right from birth. It’s run by the city council, in partnership with NHS England.

The initiative includes free supervised tooth-brushing sessions in nurseries. Every child in the city also receives five oral health packs by the time they are five years of age, with free toothbrush and toothpaste, leaflets, booklets and tooth-brushing charts.

Healthy Teeth, Happy Smiles is also educating parents about the dangers of prolonged bottle-feeding, which can cause tooth decay. Free bottle swaps are offered in all of Leicester’s children’s centres, where parents can swap bottles for a free-flow cup.

To find out more about Leicester's oral health improvement programme, visit