The future of the Designed to Smile programme, the oral health improvement programme in Wales, has been called into question.
Oral health was not given any mention in the Welsh government’s Taking Wales Forward document, which has raised concerns over the future of the Designed to Smile programme that, according to Cardiff University, has reduced dental decay rates in children by a quarter between 2007/08 and 2014/15.
The Designed to Smile programme helps to establish good oral health habits in children by supervising brushing and fluoride programmes, funded by the Welsh government.
‘Dentists have welcomed leadership from the Welsh government on tackling our nation’s deep oral health inequalities in recent years,’ Katrina Clarke, chair of the BDA’s Welsh General Dental Practice Committee, said.
‘So we are both saddened and disappointed to see this pioneering oral health scheme has not made the cut for the new programme for the government.
‘When it comes to combating tooth decay, Wales is setting an example that puts ministers in England to shame.
‘The Designed to Smile programme works, our children are already reaping the benefits, and we believe it offers firm foundations this government should build on.
‘We therefore cannot understand why even a passing reference failed to make it into this document.
‘We are seeking reassurances that the Welsh government has no plans to part ways with an ambitious and successful initiative that all Wales can be proud of.
‘Ministers need to show commitment to a tried and tested formula, so the next generation of teenagers can really reap the benefits.