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This briefing contains background information, parliamentary material, press articles, and other relevant material which Members may find useful in preparation for the debate.

In England, NHS England commissions all dental services, including primary, community and hospital services and urgent and emergency dental care. It has a legal duty to do so in order to meet the needs of a local population. It is the responsibility of individual local authorities, however, to determine how best to deliver children’s oral health improvement services in their areas. There have been several national initiatives designed to promote the prevention of poor oral health among children. In particular, the Government recently confirmed plans to launch a new programme, Starting Well, targeting children under five in 13 high priority areas.

The Scottish Government’s equivalent children’s oral health programme is Childsmile, a universal programme delivered in all Health Board areas since 2011.  The equivalent Welsh programme, Designed to Smile, was launched across the country in 2010, and in October 2016, Northern Ireland launched its Happy Smiles programme for children in nursery education.

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