Rochdale children to benefit from new £1.5 million dental initiative

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Children in Rochdale are set to benefit from a new £1.5 million dental initiative after the area was selected to participate in Greater Manchester’s new Healthy Heroes programme.

The scheme has been set up to target areas worst affected by childhood decay and obesity. Rochdale is one of four areas in the county set to benefit from the programme. Public Health England has identified Rochdale as one of 10 priority locations in England. The most recent statistics show that 47% of 5-year-olds in the town begin school with signs of decay. This is significantly higher than the average for Greater Manchester as a whole and the national average, which stands at around 25 per cent.

The new programme, which will cost around £1.5 million, is aiming to reach out to 90% of under 5’s living in Rochdale, Oldham, Bolton and Salford. There are several measures planned, including supervised daily brushing in nurseries and schools, training dental champions to work in Early Years settings, giving out oral hygiene packs during health visitor reviews, encouraging families to make regular dental appointments from the age of 12 months and improving access to NHS dental services for young children.

Director of public health at Rochdale Borough Council, Andrea Fallon, said that oral health should be higher up on the agenda and backed measures to invest in prevention. Oral health problems contribute to pain, but they also have an impact on confidence, they can cause children to miss classroom hours, and they cost the NHS millions of pounds every year.

Sarah Price, executive lead for population health and commissioning at Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said that the new programme will tackle the widespread effects of decay and enable every child to enjoy the “best start in life.”



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