Children's and Older Person's Oral Health Improvement Plans Consultation

Closed 4 Mar 2024

Opened 11 Dec 2023


The Department of Health is seeking views on the recommendations arising from the Children’s Oral Health Improvement Plan and Older Person’s Oral Health Improvement Plan.

We are inviting you to share your views to ensure we are taking the right approach to children’s and older persons oral health in Northern Ireland to best serve their needs and improve the oral health of the population of Northern Ireland.  We would be particularly keen to hear from:

  • those with lived experience of children’s dental services both in general dental practice and in HSC dental clinics
  • those with lived experience of older person’s dental services both in general dental practice and in HSC dental practice
  • organisations that provide support to children and older persons
  • frontline healthcare professionals
  • school teachers, classroom assistants, care assistants, care home managers
  • academics and researchers
  • the general public


The current Northern Ireland Oral Health Strategy (OHS) was published in 2007.  In the absence of the significant resources required to develop a new wide-ranging strategy, the Department of Health has determined that the two groups of the Northern Ireland population that would benefit most from updated oral health improvement plans were children and older people.

One of the most important foundations for building healthy and happy families is the nurturing of children in early life. A child's oral health is recognised as being a contributing factor to their healthy development and it has been seen that if preventative interventions are established at an early stage, children have a higher chance of establishing healthy lifetime habits.

Improved oral disease prevention throughout the life course has led to an increase in the number of older adults who are retaining some of their natural teeth. However, as people become older self-care tends to deteriorate and the there is a tendency to rely on others for care. This older cohort of our population is at increased risk of dental disease and oral health problems.

The Improvement Plans identify a range of strategic and ambitious recommendations for progression, which reflects the significant work needed in this area. It is recognised that implementation of many of the recommendations made will require business case approval and funding, at a time of significant financial challenge.


The consultation will run for a period of 12 weeks from 11 December 2023 to 4 March 2024

While we want to hear from as many people as possible on as many of the questions as possible, please feel free to comment on as few or as many of them as you see fit.

Implementation of many of the recommendations will be subject to the approval of a Minister and/or Executive.

While not necessary, our preference is for responses to be submitted online. Late responses will not be accepted.

Alternative Formats

Hard copies of this document and copies in other formats (including Braille, large print etc.), can be made available on request. If it would assist you to

access the document in an alternative format, or language other than English, please let us know and we will do our best to assist you. Please contact us at  or at the address below.

Oral Health Consultation
Room D4.29
Castle Buildings,
Stormont Estate,

Why your views matter

Some of the recommendations are significant in policy, practice and service delivery terms. It is important that you are given the opportunity to contribute your views on the suggested way forward. It is important because we want to ensure that we provide the best possible support and services to some of the most vulnerable children and older people in Northern Ireland and provide the best possible working support for healthcare professionals and families involved.


  • Service users/patients
  • Carers
  • General Public


  • Health and social care policy