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

PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 March 2017

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.”

5 comments

  • Beerlover and Tolly - I completely agree with you 100%. Teachers of primary school kids already have to teach sex ed, internet safety, citizenship as well as the core subjects (the three R's if you will). Now the all seeing all wanting Local authority think teachers now have the time to get involved with teaching children how to clean their teeth. Really? Is there any point to parents today having kids? Most seem to want to have their kids in school from 8am - 6pm and as you rightly point out, most parents seem to have a mobile phone clamped to their ear when they're walking round with their child(ren). Teachers are NOT surrogate parents. Instead of heaping more work on already overstretched teachers, the local authorities need to start making parents more accountable and more responsible for actually looking after their children and teaching them the same basic health skills that most of us over 30 have got from our childhood - which we got from our parents, not i-phone apps or interfering local authorities.

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    salmonman

    Monday, March 20, 2017

  • Why is IBC 'potentially' getting involved in this? They obviously have money to waste considering public health is a county council responsibility - unless that's changed. Doesn't the school dentist visit now?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Tolly

    Monday, March 20, 2017

  • What an indictment of just how totally useless most so-called "parents" are these days. Bad enough that when I see them walking along with kids either in buggies or walking with them, virtually every parent either has headphones in or a 'phone clamped to their ear, having absolutely *no* interaction with their kid. But if it's too much effort even to teach the kid how to clean its teeth - why do these people even bother *having* kids?

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    beerlover

    Monday, March 20, 2017

  • Will parents who already teach good dental health be able to withdraw their child from this? Talking to children about tooth decay is one thing but supervising 30 5 year olds cleaning their teeth and avoiding cross contamination is another. It seems that the authorities want to take away parents responsibility on many issues these days. I thought schools were for teaching the 3 R's

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Tolly

    Monday, March 20, 2017

  • Something positive in schools for once. They need to make it fun though, otherwise it will not go down well

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    TrollFace

    Monday, March 20, 2017

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