Dental health of children best ever

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Children’s dental health in Scotland has broken the records as a report, published today, confirms that 64 per cent of P1s have no sign of tooth decay.

Minister for Public Health Shona Robison welcomed the report’s findings and announced the roll out of the £15m Childsmile nursery, school and practice programmes – which will be delivered in every health board in Scotland in the new year.

The report, by the National Dental Inspection Programme, also shows that the Scottish Government target for 60 per cent of P1s to have no obvious signs of tooth decay has been met.

Ms Robison said:

“It is fantastic to be able to say that our primary school children now have the best oral health since our records began.

“We wanted 60 per cent of primary one children to have no sign of tooth decay by 2010 – not only has this been met, it has been improved upon.

“Thanks to work to ensure that children know the importance of dental care at the earliest age, Scotland’s children are now primed to have a lifetime of good oral health.

“Childsmile is an ambitious programme and I am pleased to say that all elements of the programme will be now be delivered in every health board in the new year.

“Through Childsmile nursery we have seen specially trained dental nurses going into schools and providing clinical preventive care to children. Targeting children in the most deprived areas, Childsmile School will also deliver a range of preventative care interventions for children in primary one and two to reduce the risk of dental decay.”

The 2009 National Dental Inspection Programme (NDIP) is a development of the Scottish Health Boards’ Epidemiological Programme. It is a joint venture between all NHS Boards in Scotland, the Scottish Health Directorate, Glasgow Dental School (University of Glasgow) and the Dental Health Services Research Unit, Dundee, and is co-ordinated by a national committee (the Scottish Dental Epidemiology Co-ordinating Committee).

The Scottish Government worked with partners, including Health Boards, Schools and general dental practitioners, across Scotland to develop the Childsmile Programme, which aims to improve children’s oral heath. The programme emphasises the importance of tooth brushing and helps parents establish a healthy diet from the earliest stage.