Health & Wellbeing Service - Manchester

Good Oral Health


Oral Health enables an individual to speak, eat and socialise without active disease, discomfort or embarrassment. Oral Health is fundamental to general health and well being, significantly impacting on quality of life. It can also affect general health conditions.

Oral Health means more than healthy teeth. The health of gums, oral soft tissues, chewing muscles, the palate, tongue, lips and salivary glands are also significant.

Impact of Poor Oral Health


Oral health is poor in the Manchester population and one of the main dental diseases, tooth decay continues to affect children and young people’s lives, yet it
is largely preventable. Inequalities in oral health do exist as children from more deprived communities have poorer oral health compared to those living in affluent
communities. For example, 21.2% of five year olds had tooth decay in south-east England compared to 34.8% in north-west England with even greater inequalities
within local authorities, in Manchester 39% of five year olds have experienced tooth decay. (National Dental Epidemiology Programme for England: Oral health
survey of five-year old children 2012, Public Health England).

Poor oral health can have an impact on general health as it can affect children’s ability to eat, speak and socialise. Other impacts include pain, infections, poor diet and impaired nutrition and growth. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study in 2010, five to nine year olds in the UK experienced the most disability caused by poor
oral health.

Untreated tooth decay can lead to young children needing dental treatment under general anaesthesia (GA), which presents a small but real risk of life threatening complications for children. The financial impact of dental disease is also significant; tooth extractions under a GA are not only potentially avoidable but also costly. The cost of extracting multiple teeth in children in hospitals in England in 2011-12 was £673 per child with a total cost of nearly £23 million.

Evidence Based


There are two main evidence-based documents currently used the first is ‘Delivering Better Oral Health’. An evidence-based toolkit for prevention, 3rd edition published by the Department of Health and The BritishAssociation for the Study of Community Dentistry.

Topics covered include the principles of toothbrushing, increasing fluoride availability, healthy eating advice, identifying sugar-free medicines, improving periodontal health, stop smoking guidance, accessing alcohol misuse support, and prevention of dental erosion. A thorough list of references is
also included.

The document was initially published in September 2007, however the fundamental messages of the first edition have not been changed, but there have been updates to the lists of toothpaste fluoride content and sugar-free medicines. There are also amendments to the dietary and alcohol sections. This toolkit has been well circulated to dental personnel in order to support clear, consistent preventative information being given to all members of the public. The information contained within is
based firmly on the most current research evidence available.

This is an easy to read document with summary guidance for Primary Care Dental Teams identifying the key advice to be given to specific sections of the population. A copy of the document can be downloaded at :

The second document is The Scientific Basis of Oral Health Education, 6th Edition. An essential Document for all those involved in providing oral health education to the public.   Books written by R S Levine and C R Stillman-Lowe.