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Oral health in community pharmacy

A report on activity to raise awareness about oral health and oral pain management of children and young people in London.

“There is an opportunity to change the future for our children and a welcome appetite from a number of organisations who want to work together to improve oral health in children. Improving oral health is everyone’s business.”

– Dr Sandra White, National Lead for Dental Public Health, Public Health England, September 2016

There have been vast improvements in children’s oral health over the past five decades, but almost a quarter of five year olds still have tooth decay in their baby teeth. Tooth decay causes pain, discomfort, sleepless nights, time off school and has far reaching impact on families. It is the number one reason why children aged five to nine years old are admitted to hospital in England and costs the NHS in the region of £30 million.

Community pharmacies have a major role to play. They could be the first health professionals parents and carers contact if their child has tooth decay that causes pain and leads them to purchase over-the-counter medications, obtain a prescription analgesic or seek associate advice from the pharmacy team. The public health campaign and audit aims to harness the existing interaction between community pharmacies and parents and carers of children and young people to raise awareness of oral health in London and learn more about pain management.

It is voluntary and will help community pharmacies direct children and young people toward their local dentist while gathering population data. Data will help London’s NHS and Queen Mary University of London understand more about the types of dental and oral problems that children and young people experience that drive parents to seek help and advice from community pharmacies.

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