Experts praise ‘Starting Well’ children’s dental health initiative

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Experts have praised a new children’s dental health initiative. The ‘Starting Well’ campaign was launched by the NHS and is closely linked to the ‘Dental Check by One’ campaign, which was developed by the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry and the Chief Dental Officer two years ago.

Dr Robin Mills, an NHS consultant in paediatric dentistry, has analysed the impact of the scheme, mapping dental attendance among children all over England. The main aim of the initiative is to encourage parents to take their children to a dentist from an early age. Dr Mills’ map shows that the gap between the North and the South is closing, and that attendance rates are increasing in areas marked out for the programme. 

Of the thirteen local authorities selected to take part in the Starting Well programme, 12 are in the top 50% for child attendance and none are in the bottom 25%. There has been an improvement in all 13 locations since the launch of the scheme. 

Dental Check by One is instrumental to the success of the Starting Well campaign, and this programme is now available as a core initiative for all local authorities within England. Dental experts and policymakers are hoping to encourage parents to take their children for regular check-ups from the age of 12 months to reduce rates of decay and promote better standards of oral health. 

Dr Mills analysed data from NHS England collected between March 2018 and March 2019. More recent analysis will be conducted as soon as figures for the remainder of 2019 become available.

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