Posted: Sat 2nd Apr 2016

Significant Improvement In Children’s Oral Health

This article is old - Published: Saturday, Apr 2nd, 2016

Children’s oral health in Wales has experienced the most significant improvement since records began, the latest survey of five-year-olds shows. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Dental decay has reduced by 12% in five-year-olds since 2008 and there has been a reduction in the average number of teeth affected when children have tooth decay. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Welsh Government’s flagship scheme Designed to Smile has helped to improve children’s oral health by working with children under six in some of Wales’ most disadvantaged areas. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“These results show the most significant and sustained improvement in tackling dental decay since records began in the 1980s. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Importantly, levels of dental disease are reducing across all social groups – we are closing the dental health gap between the poorest and the most advantaged children in Wales. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Decay is generally expected to either rise or show little improvement during periods of financial downturn, which makes this improvement all the more impressive. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“This is in part thanks to the success of Designed to Smile. Helping the youngest children in Wales to look after their teeth is a prudent approach which will pay off in the long term. Seven years after the launch of Designed to Smile, children and young people in Wales are seeing the benefits. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

”I want to thank all the NHS and school staff who have worked to make Designed to Smile a success. I also want to thank our recently-retired chief dental officer David Thomas for his leadership and for his expert professional advice. I wish him a happy and healthy retirement.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Designed to Smile provides supervised tooth brushing and fluoride varnish programmes for young children in school and nursery, helping them to keep their teeth healthy as they grow older. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Dental health professionals can provide a fissure sealant programme to older children who may need it, as well as advice about how to look after their teeth to prevent problems later on. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Currently 91,290 children in 1,439 schools and nurseries are taking part in the supervised element of Designed to Smile, which represents 59.2% of all children from pre-school to year two in Wales. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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