child tooth decayChild tooth decay in Wales has fallen, with the proportion of children experiencing tooth decay now standing at 34.2%.

This is a drop of 13.4% since 2007/08 according to a new report from Public Health Wales.

In addition to this, the number of children with decayed, missing and filled teeth has fallen by 38%, with marked improvements being made amongst children from more deprived communities.

‘Tooth decay is the leading reason for hospital admissions among children in all parts of Britain,’ British Dental Association (BDA) chair, Mick Armstrong, said.

‘While Ministers in Whitehall are shrugging their shoulders, their opposite numbers in Cardiff Bay are showing just what’s possible.’

Designed to Smile

The BDA has put the improvement down to Wales’ successful national programme, Designed to Smile.

The programme was launched in 2009 and offers supervised brushing in schools and nurseries, alongside oral health education and promotion.

The BDA is now calling on all UK parties to follow the success some of the devolved governments are experiencing, and to extend the success of Designed to Smile by making it a compulsory scheme and extending it to nurseries for children under three.

‘Wales is reaping the benefits of a dedicated strategy to drive down childhood decay,’ Mick continued.

‘In England children have been offered little more than a few soundbites.

‘The Welsh Government must build on the success of this initiative.

‘We hope authorities in England are taking note.’

Smile4life

Sara Hurley, chief dental officer for NHS England, recently announced the launch of Smile4life, an oral health initiative for England.

Due to be launched this September, the CDO described it as ‘a national framework for oral health initiatives‘, which will combine current oral health schemes for children under one programme.

‘Whether it be Teeth Team in Hull, or Smile4life up in Cumbria, can we bring all these fabulous people together, start sharing their ideas and have a kite mark?’ Sara Hurley said.

‘It’s going to be an umbrella of programmes.

‘If we can then have some more national partners to help us spread it, give us an identity and tie in with Public Health England’s Change4life, their programme about sugars, that’s the real concept behind it.’