Pilot project tackling tooth decay in Ipswich primary school children
A new dental health project aiming to cut tooth decay in children of primary school age has been launched in Ipswich.
Mayor of Ipswich and nurse Sarah Barber joined leaders from Suffolk County Council at Cliff Lane Primary School to kick-off the fresh scheme this week.
Cliff Lane and Highfield Nursery Primary School are taking part in the pilot, which will support pupils and parents with key tips and advice on keeping teeth healthy.
The trial is part of the ‘Keep Suffolk Smiling’ initiative, which has seen parents given free toothbrushes and toothpaste at their child’s 12-month check-up.
Teachers at the two schools will get help from Suffolk’s community dental health team to deliver important messages about dental health, alongside information to take home for parents.
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Although oral health is improving in England, almost a quarter of five-year-olds have tooth decay, and oral health accounts for around £3.4billion per year to the NHS. Tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admissions in children aged five-nine in 2014/15 with more than 24,000 youngsters admissions for an almost entirely preventable disease.
In Suffolk, 79.1% of five-year-olds are free from dental decay, compared to the national average of 75.2%.
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Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health and chairman of the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “It’s good that in Suffolk we have better standards of dental health than across England as a whole, we know more work is needed to better oral health standards for all children in Suffolk.
“This pilot scheme is another way that Suffolk County Council is working hard to give every child in Suffolk the best start in life.”
Mrs Barber, a nurse at Ipswich Hospital, said: “Good dental health from a young age is incredibly important, which is why I wholeheartedly support this project to support teachers and parents to raise awareness of the issue among children.
“By working with Cliff Lane Primary School, among others, we’re hoping to make a real difference to children’s oral health and I am really pleased to be part of this project from the outset.”
Suffolk County Council’s director of public health and protection, Abdul Razaq, was also at the launch event.