Tayside kids are smiles better!

Dental health of children across Angus and Tayside is getting better thanks to the success of oral health improvement programmes.

The latest figures show that 63.2 per cent of primary one and 74.9 per cent of primary seven children are free of obvious dental decay and are continuing to maintain an improvement, meeting the government’s 2010 target of 60 per cent for these age groups.

The ‘Childsmile’ programme aims to improve the dental health of children by reducing inequalities in oral health and ensuring access to dental services for every child across the country.

Locally, the programme involves visiting schools and nurseries to promote and monitor the tooth-brushing programme and to provide applications of fluoride varnish to children. The programme also supports dental practices to deliver fluoride varnish treatment to their young patients.

Derek Richards, consultant in Dental Public Health, said: “The improvements in children’s dental health represent the continuing efforts of staff from NHS Tayside, local schools and local dentists in preventing dental decay.

“While these improvements are welcome, there are still children suffering from this preventable problem who can benefit from these ongoing programmes.”

Dr Drew Walker, director of public health for NHS Tayside, said: “I am delighted to see that we are continuing to make good progress in improving dental health in Tayside children.

“Dental decay can be very unpleasant, painful and is completely preventable, so these further signs of improvement are extremely welcome. I am grateful to everyone concerned for their work to improve dental health across Tayside.”

In association with the team at the Dundee Dental Health Services Research Unit at Dundee Dental School, a number of ongoing studies are taking place to understand and support children and families from more deprived areas in a bid to improve their dental health.

Work is also underway across NHS Tayside to help improve dental health for dependent older people, those with special care needs and people experiencing homelessness.