Oral health (health and wellbeing needs in South Tyneside)


  • The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasises the importance of good oral health, stating that 'the psychosocial impact of oral diseases often significantly diminishes quality of life'.
  • Oral health is important for general health and wellbeing. Poor oral health can affect someone's ability to eat, speak, smile and socialise normally, for example due to pain or social embarrassment. Children may miss school and parents have to take time off work for their child to attend the dentist or be admitted to hospital. Other impacts include pain, infections, poor diet, and impaired nutrition and growth.
  • Oral health problems include gum (periodontal) disease, tooth decay, tooth loss and oral cancers.
  • Tooth decay is largely preventable, yet it is the most common oral disease affecting children and young people in England and is now the most common reason for 5 - 9 year olds to be admitted to hospital in England.
  • Children with severe dental decay tend to experience lower growth, weigh less and have a lower quality of life. These improve after treatment of decayed teeth. This 'failure to thrive' is thought to extend beyond reasons of poor nutrition due to difficulty eating because of painful teeth.
  • Dental access is good in South Tyneside when compared with the elsewhere in the North East. 81% of child (0 - 17) population seen in previous 12 months compared with 54 % in County Durham. 83% of adult (18+) population seen in the previous 24 months compared with 53 % in County Durham.
  • Local authorities became responsible for improving the oral health of their population in April 2013. They are responsible for commissioning oral health promotion programmes and oral health surveys as part of the Public Health England (PHE) dental public health intelligence programme which aid the planning and evaluation of oral health programmes and monitoring of water fluoridation schemes.