Health officials trying to improve oral health on the Isle of Man

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The Department of Health are meeting to discuss ways to improve standards of oral health amongst children on the Isle of Wight.

Standards of oral health are very low amongst young children; figures suggest that half of children under the age of 5 suffer from tooth decay. Tooth decay has been highlighted as a major health problem on the island and ministers are keen to implement new strategies to improve standards of oral health and reduce rates of decay.

The Department of Health has recently published a thirty page document detailing ways to promote good oral health and reduce tooth decay; the document is available to view online and members of the public have been invited to submit feedback comments. The new strategies will include encouraging parents and children to focus on oral hygiene from a very early age and improving education about oral health.

According to health officials, many people are unaware of the importance of good oral health and neglect oral hygiene; many children do not visit a dentist until they are four or five years old and a large proportion of children do not brush their teeth twice a day. Representatives from the health department and dentists are particularly keen to promote a good oral hygiene routine from an early age as there are no fluoridated water supplies on the island; fluoride helps to strengthen the teeth and many studies have confirmed that people who live in areas with fluoridated water supplies have better standards of oral health than those who live in areas where no fluoride is present in the water.

Numerous studies have confirmed a link between oral health and general health; poor oral health can contribute to serious health problems, including an increased risk of heart disease and strokes. 

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