Isle of Man health officials appeal for public opinion

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Officials from the Department of Health have appealed to the public to give their opinion on a new oral health strategy.

Children in the Isle of Man have very poor standards of oral health in comparison to other areas in the UK and health officials have put together a 30 page document outlining various programmes and policies, which will hopefully help to raise standards in the future.

The document has been published online and officials are inviting members of the public to submit their comments before the 8th November. The document outlines a five-year plan to reduce decay amongst the island’s children.

Possible strategies include preventative treatments for children, including sealants treatment and fluoride varnish, improved education about oral health and greater provision of oral hygiene products. The island does not have fluoridated water supplies and this is thought to a major contributor to the relatively high rates of decay; fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel surfaces of the teeth and numerous studies have shown that people who live in areas with fluoridated water have better oral health than those who live in areas with no fluoride.

Health Minister David Anderson said that the health department had considered a number of options in the absence of fluoridated water and officials are keen to know what the public think about the new initiatives. Mr Anderson said that poor oral health was a serious concern for the department and the focus would now shift to preventing oral health issues, including gum disease and tooth decay, which are both prevalent amongst the island’s residents.

In addition to preventative treatments, new initiatives will provide children with better education about oral hygiene; educational sessions will provide children with information about healthy eating, oral hygiene and the dangers associated with poor oral health.

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