Just under a half of all five year olds in Nottingham have at least one decayed, missing or filled baby tooth, compared to just over a third in England.
Last year over 4000 children (aged 3 – 11) had teeth extracted.
To help tackle this problem the County Health Partnerships Oral Health Promotion Team (part of Nottinghamshire Healthcare) has developed a number of initiatives including the brand new ‘Teeth Tools for Schools’. ‘Teeth Tools for Schools’ is an innovative and dynamic teaching resource for primary schools. Each school will be provided with a resource and offered the opportunity to be involved with its further development.
To date over 40% of primary schools in Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City have their very own copy of the ‘Teeth Tools for Schools’ pack and many have pledged to deliver and evaluate oral health sessions in the next 6 weeks. We are hoping to enrol 100% of schools by Christmas!
This joins the well established City Smiles and Incredible Mouths Programmes. These include promoting the key oral health messages through partnership working with health visiting, midwifery and school health teams. Pregnant women and children also receive free oral health advice and tooth brushing aids at certain developmental stages.
Losing teeth affects how you smile, look and feel about yourself as well as your ability to eat and speak. These resources have been developed to help prevent children losing teeth but you can also play your part.
Julia Wilkinson (Oral Health Promotion coordinator) said: “Parents often assume that they don’t need to brush their children’s teeth, but establishing good habits from the time that their first tooth appears helps protect their gums, promote good tooth growth and gives them a brighter smile.
“Brush your child’s teeth twice a day, once just before bedtime and at least one other time during the day. Encourage your child to spit out excess toothpaste but not to rinse with water so the fluoride can keep working – Spit, don’t rinse! It’s really important to supervise tooth brushing at least up to your child’s 7th birthday”.
Don’t forget to make it fun - choose your child’s favourite song or nursery rhyme or use an egg timer to make sure they brush for two minutes.
Remember to book your child in for regular check ups. Dental treatment is free at NHS practices for under 18s and for some adults - there are lots of appointments available to people across Nottingham.
To find an NHS dentist, use the www.nhs.uk (NHS Choices) search, contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or text “dentist” to 64746.