New plans have been approved to tackle tooth decay among Halton’s children.
Halton Borough Council has agreed to support fluoride varnishing in schools because 30% of Halton children do not regularly see a dentist.
The council says evidence shows this treatment works and is one way to help disadvantaged children.
Fluoride varnish, when applied two to three times a year to the biting surfaces of teeth, reduces tooth decay by 30-40%, according to the Department of Health.
Halton’s dentists have already been asked to apply the varnish three times a year to all three-17-year-olds, and NHS Halton and St Helens PCT also says it will send fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush to every child aged three-11, twice a year for the next three years.
The council says there will be more high street dentists for Halton and St Helens in 2009, but extra surgeries must be built and equipped for them to work in.
The moves are in response to an Ofsted report, which criticised the council’s dental performance as being ‘weaker than national’ and recommended that the council speed up plans to improve the borough’s teeth.
In 16 of Halton’s 21 electoral wards, 51% of five-year-olds have had tooth decay compared to 34% in England.