New NHS children’s dental health campaign to launch in Lancashire
NHS England is launching a new oral health campaign to improve standards of oral health in some of the areas worst affected by tooth decay. The ‘Start Well: Smile 4 Life’ initiative is focused on young children aged under 5 years old.
As part of the programme, which is due to launch in parts of Lancashire and South Cumbria, including Blackburn with Darwen, dentists will be visiting schools, nurseries and community centres to educate parents and young children about oral health, and practices will also be reaching out to target children who haven’t been to see a dentist in a long time. Children should see a dentist every 6 months from the age of 1-2 years old, but statistics show that many are missing out on routine appointments. The most recent figures show that 55% of 5-year-olds in Blackburn have signs of tooth decay.
The NHS is investing a total of £2,500 per month per participating practice over the course of the next two years. The aim is to improve standards of oral health, reduce rates of decay and ensure that 4,000 more children see a dentist.
Councillor Jackie Floyd, assistant executive member for health and adult social care, said that children’s dental health is an area, which requires improvement, and the new initiative is an excellent way to make positive changes and reach out to more children. The message that councillors and dentists are keen to send out to parents is that regular routine checks are available free of charge for children on the NHS. Frequent appointments reduce the risk of decay and premature tooth loss, and they can also help children to feel more confident and less anxious about going to the dentist.
Anyone who is eager to see which practices are involved in the new scheme is encouraged to call 0300 123 4010 for more information.