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Supervised toothbrushing trial at schools in Suffolk to combat problem of child tooth decay

Concerns children are not taking care of their teeth. Picture: PA

Concerns children are not taking care of their teeth. Picture: PA

Supervised tooth brushing is set to be launched in nursery and primary schools in Suffolk to tackle the rising problem of tooth decay among children.

Toothbrushes will be handed out to nursery and primary school pupils. Picture: PAToothbrushes will be handed out to nursery and primary school pupils. Picture: PA

Startling figures have revealed the average five-year-old consumes their body weight in sugar each year, prompting councils in the county to join forces to tackle the problem.

Having teeth removed has been the most common cause of hospital admissions for five to nine-year-olds for successive years, making it a key health concern for the primary school age group.

Figures reveal 73.9% of Ipswich children who visited hospital to have a tooth removed were under ten.

Now a Community Dental Services pilot is being planned where staff will help nursery, reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children with their daily brushing. The Royal College of Surgeons estimate 90% of tooth decay is preventable through brushing, a change of diet and regular visits to the dentist.

Concerns have been raised about teeth brushing in SuffolkConcerns have been raised about teeth brushing in Suffolk

Schools on the pilot, which has been earmarked to start in September, will provide tooth brushes, tooth paste and toothbrush holders while staff will be trained in how to store brushes and avoid cross infection.

The scheme will be part-funded through the locality budgets of county councillors Helen Armitage and Bill Quinton with additional funds potentially coming from Ipswich Borough Council.

Suffolk County Council’s director for public health Abdul Razaq said: “The health of Suffolk’s children and young people is a key priority for Suffolk County Council, including addressing good oral health amongst schoolchildren.

“Suffolk County Council funds the Keep Suffolk Smiling project which is supported by health visitors. This is provided to all children at their nine-month and two-and-a-half year checks.

“We are also introducing a supervised tooth brushing scheme across three Ipswich schools for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils with training being provided by Suffolk Community Dental Health Service to offer them guidance on hygiene, storage and supporting parents.

“It is important that children and parents receive the right information about the adverse effects of too much sugar in their diet that can lead to preventable tooth decay and loss.”

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