The indicators contained within this oral health profile will support local authorities to focus on and prioritise oral health and oral health improvement initiatives, particularly among young children and vulnerable adults. Local authorities have had responsibility for improving health and reducing inequalities, including oral health, since April 2013.

The indicators can be used as important contributions to joint strategic needs assessments. The indicator tooth decay levels among five-year-olds, in particular, is very useful as it can give early indication of the success, or otherwise, of interventions aimed at very young children, such as those designed to improve parenting, children’s weight or overall health or diet. Tooth decay levels can also be used as early proxy measures of the impact of programmes focussed on weaning and feeding practices or improving parenting skills.

The risk of developing oral disease can be reduced by the adoption of healthy behaviours. Tooth decay risk can be reduced by restricting the consumption of sugary foods and drinks and brushing daily with fluoride toothpaste. Gum disease can be controlled by effective, daily removal of plaque and stopping smoking. Oral cancer risk can be reduced by restricting alcohol use to moderate levels and not smoking. These behaviours are also linked with improvements in general health.

Reliable data on tooth decay levels can assist with planning and commissioning oral health improvement programmes. These should be commissioned following strategic planning, taking into account the measured health needs of the population. Guidance is available from Public Health England and NICE regarding commissioning effective oral health improvement programmes.

Latest updates from the Dental Public Health Intelligence Programme website

2017 NICE guidance on oral health for adults in care homes

2016 dental prescribing dashboard

2016 dental epidemiology toolkit

2014/15 oral health survey of five year olds

2013/14 oral health survey of five and twelve year olds attending special support schools

Tooth extractions in hospital for 0-19 year olds 2011/12-2015/16


For further information about the full range of Dental Public Health reports that we have produced, as well as protocols and supporting information for dental surveys currently in production, please visit our DENTAL HEALTH website.

For any enquiries about Dental Public Health Intelligence data please contact us at




Recent updates

November 2017

Populations data refreshed with 2016 estimates.

Oral cancer mortality rates time period now covers 2001-03 to 2014-16.

Statutory homelessness indicator updated with 2016-17 data.

July 2017

Oral cancer mortality data 2008-2010 to 2013-2015 now available.

April 2017

Oral cancer registrations updated to 2013-2015. Five and twelve year old populations updated to 2015.


November 2016

First version released - historical survey data for three, five and twelve year olds uploaded to profile.