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UK Against Fluoridation

Friday, October 23, 2009

UK - Toddlers across Wales to be taught how to clean their teeth

Toddlers across Wales to be taught how to clean their teeth
Oct 23 2009 by Madeleine Brindley, Western Mail
CHILDREN and toddlers under three in Wales will be taught how to brush their teeth.
The Welsh Assembly Government will today announce extra funding to extend its flagship oral health scheme to the youngest children.
They will also be given free toothbrushes and toothpaste to take home with them in a bid to improve Wales’ shocking oral health.
More than half of children in Wales have tooth decay, although the problem is highest in areas of deprivation, such as the former South Wales coalfield.
And dentists have said there are children in Wales who have “never seen a toothbrush”.
Health Minister Edwina Hart, who will launch the extended scheme today in Swansea, said: “The rates of tooth decay in parts of Wales are too high and need to be tackled.
“This additional funding for the Designed to Smile scheme will carry on and enhance the good work done in the pilot areas and extend it across the whole of Wales.
“There is a significant role for parents to play, but we know that for many children at greatest risk of dental decay, cleaning their teeth or having their teeth cleaned does not form part of their daily routine.
“It is clear that more direct and also more innovative methods of delivering preventive care are necessary if advances in child oral health are to be made.
“By teaching children the importance of good oral health at an early age, they will develop good habits they will carry on into adulthood.”
Children under three who attend nurseries in parts of North and South Wales – the original super pilot areas – will now be taught about tooth brushing in a bid to make it part of their regular daily routine.
They will also be given free toothbrushes and toothpaste.
The existing scheme for three to five-year-olds will also be extended to other Communities First areas in Wales and, in the super pilot areas, to six and seven- year-olds.
Assembly Government funding for Designed to Smile will rise to £3.1m this year and to more than £3.8m in 2010-11.
A joint statement by Dr Hugh Bennett, a consultant in dental public health, and Claire Thompson, acting senior health promotion specialist at the National Public Health Service for Wales, said: “Evidence shows that tooth brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste reduces the risk of this preventable disease.
“This boost to Designed to Smile is an invaluable opportunity to encourage parents and children to maintain good dental health habits.
“Steps such as healthy eating and drinking are just as import-ant as brushing teeth and visiting the dentist, and the Designed to Smile team will work with both children and parents to explain how these simple measures can reduce the unnecessary pain and suffering caused by dental decay.”
Stuart Geddes, director of the British Dental Association in Wales, said: “In principle this is great and I’m glad to see the Assembly Government is putting money into it.
“This is about good practice and also getting the tooth-brushing message into the family; hopefully it will get the message across to mums so it can be taken back.
“One episode of oral health education is not going to work unless it is taken back home.”
Mr Geddes added: “This is a help but what I’d like to see is a really comprehensive oral hygiene programme rolled out to school children until they are 16.
“While I appreciate that is beyond the costs of providing this scheme, the benefits would, in the long-term, save money for the NHS because we would get subsequent reductions in treatment.”


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