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Where are supervised toothbrushing programmes?

In 2022 and 2024 surveys of the current provision of supervised toothbrushing programmes in nurseries and schools across England were undertaken. Geographical maps of this data can be seen by clicking the button below. 

A national survey of supervised toothbrushing programme

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A national survey of supervised toothbrushing programmes in England 2022

Targeting of supervised toothbrushing programmes and clubs

The prevalence and severity of tooth decay are closely linked to the level of deprivation of an area and the socio-economic status of the families' attending nurseries and schools. For that reason, toothbrushing programmes are particularly effective when run in deprived areas of the country. Within those areas, when choosing which nurseries or schools to involve these are often ‘targeted’ based on socio-economic factors.

How are they targeted?

On a local authority level, the suitability of an area for a toothbrushing programme is often determined based on deprivation level and available data on tooth decay.

Within that area, these same factors commonly influence the choice of which nurseries or schools are targeted in addition to some other factors.

Factors to consider for targeting:

  • Deprivation – based on the Index of Multiple Deprivation or Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI)


  • School/nursery factors

    • age of children attending

    • proportion of pupils eligible for free school meal

    • free early learning child spaces

    • pupil premium targets

    • mainstream schools only

    • special schools

    • school readiness


  • Level of dental decay

Some areas of the country have surveys with large sample sizes which allow nurseries/schools to be chosen based on the number of decayed, missing and filled teeth in those neighbourhoods.

While hospital episode statistic data are available for each local authority on the number of children admitted to hospital for dental reasons, the quality of that data in some areas may make it a less accurate way of targeting than using deprivation data.

This data is represented in the maps above.

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