Wakefield has lowest rate of tooth decay in children in West Yorkshire

17/05/2018, PR8804

The number of five-year-olds with tooth decay in the Wakefield district has fallen dramatically thanks to new initiatives by Wakefield Council.

The latest Public Health England oral health survey results show that the numbers of five year olds with tooth decay has fallen to its lowest level in the district since 2008.

The latest figures show that in 2018 the numbers of those that had experienced tooth decay had fallen to 28.8%, down from 33.8% in 2008.

Wakefield now has the lowest percentage of children with tooth decay compared to the other local authorities in West Yorkshire, with the average figure in the Yorkshire and Humber region being 30.4%.

Cllr Pat Garbutt at a children's oral health workshop
Cllr Pat Garbutt at a children's oral health workshop

Cllr Pat Garbutt, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “We have worked very hard over the last few years to improve our children’s oral health services and deliver new initiatives, such as providing every single Wakefield child with a toothbrush and toothpaste.

“We’re continuing to work with our partners to promote the importance of good oral health for children at a young age. This helps to ensure that good habits are continued into adulthood.”

Wakefield Council, as part of the multi-agency oral health advisory group, has introduced a number of schemes to improve children’s oral health. Over 4,000 toothbrushes and toothpaste have been supplied to children through their health visitor to encourage parents and carers to start tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth erupts.

A £13.5k funding pot has been made available for primary schools in the district to set up supervised tooth brushing schemes, with approximately 300 children already benefitting. Information is also supplied to all primary schools in the district with advice and information on good oral health care. Work has also taken place with pharmacies to promote awareness of children’s oral health messages.

The 2017 survey also shows that the average number of teeth affected by decay in Wakefield was 0.9. This is lower than the Yorkshire and Humber average of 1.1. This is a significant improvement in the severity of tooth decay compared with 2015 when it was 1.6.

Cllr Garbutt added: “The lowering rates of tooth decay is great news but there is still more we can do to stop tooth decay from occurring in the first instance and reducing the number of children requiring tooth extractions due to decay.

“We urge all parents and carers to make sure that children brush their teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, limit sugary food and drink and have regular check-ups at their dentist.”

To see the full Public Health England oral health survey results that were issued this week, as well as more oral health surveys, visit:

For more information on good oral health practices, or support in finding an NHS Dentist, please visit

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