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Prevention and Management of Dental Caries in Children

Cover imagePublished April 2010


  • Guidance in Brief summarises the main recommendations
  • Full Guidance provides more detail about the recommendations and how to follow them, including illustrated step-by-step advice on individual clinical techniques and flowcharts for decision making about prevention and management options

Supporting tools
A number of supporting tools are included in the full guidance to assist the dental team follow the guidance recommendations and to work with families and children. These are available to download:

  • Care Checklist (pdf 850k) – going through this one page checklist for each child patient is a means of confirming that the care you provide includes all of the essential elements of the assessment, prevention and the management of caries.
  • Prevention Log (pdf 850k) –  shows the specific actions that should be carried out at each visit to effectively deliver comprehensive preventive care. Keep a record of completion of each action by noting it in the log. Alternative version (Word 260k).
  • Caries Prevention Reminder by Age (pdf 1MB)  – a summary of preventive interventions appropriate for children year-by-year from birth to 16 years of age.
  • Template Letter for Health Visitor/School Nurse/General Medical Practitioner/Child Protection Advisor (Word 28k) –  can be adapted for use when contacting other agencies to request advice and multidisciplinary support in the ongoing dental health management of a child or when dental neglect is suspected.

For further explanation, refer to the full guidance.

Additional resources

About this guidance

Prevention and Management of Dental Caries in Children is designed to assist and support Primary Care practitioners and their teams in improving and maintaining the oral health of their child patients from birth up to the age of 16. Based on information distilled from a range of sources, the guidance provides advice on

      • the assessment of the child
      • the delivery of preventive care based on caries risk
      • choosing from the range of caries management options available
      • delivery of restorative care, including how to carry out individual treatments
      • recall and referral
      • providing additional support
      • management of suspected dental neglect

Guidance development

The guidance has been developed by a group of professionals with a particular interest and experience in providing dental care for children, assisted by our Programme Development Team. A draft of the guidance was made available for consultation for three months ending in July 2009 and all responses received were considered. A revised draft was subject to peer review in February 2010 and further amendments made before finalising the guidance for publication. Click  here for more information on the SDCEP guidance development process.

Guidance Development Group

Name Position
Dr Dafydd Evans (Chair) Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Dentistry, Dundee Dental Hospital and School, University of Dundee
Dr David Conway Senior Clinical Lecturer in Dental Public Health, University of Glasgow Dental School
Brett Duane Assistant Clinical Director (Health Promotion), Community Dental Services, NHS Fife
Martin Foster Assistant Clinical Director, Children’s Services, NHS Lothian
John Glen General Dental Practitioner, Cowdenbeath, Fife
Dr Nicola Innes Clinical Lecturer in Paediatric Dentistry, Dundee Dental Hospital and School, University of Dundee (formerly General Dental Practitioner, NHS Tayside)
Ray McAndrew Clinical Director of Community Dental Services, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
Derek Richards Consultant in Dental Public Health, NHS Forth Valley
Margaret Ross Senior Lecturer for Dental Care Professionals, Edinburgh Dental Institute
Prof. Richard Welbury Professor of Paediatric Dentistry, University of Glasgow Dental School

The Guidance Development Group would like to express their thanks to all those who responded to the request for feedback during the consultation and peer-review stages.

Review and updating

This guidance is currently under review.