BY the age of five a shocking 60% of Glasgow children have experienced tooth decay and more than 14% have had teeth removed.
In a determined bid to tackle the problem, NHS Greater Glasgow marked National Smile Week (May 12-18) with a fun but educational series of children's events.
Nutritionist Joy Farquarson, Senior Health Promotions Officer with Greater Glasgow NHS Board, said simply: "The week has been a great success. Our dedicated staff from Primary Care Trust ensured we covered everything from healthy eating in pregnancy to nursery school tooth brushing.
"We felt it was important to make it fun and get everyone involved, so a wide variety of people including Oral Health Action Teams, community health projects, dentists, pharmacists, nurseries and health visitors created a varied timetable of events at community venues that we hoped would pull in the crowds. It was so rewarding to see the public throwing itself into something like this. It's been a brilliant week."
Events included oral health displays at pharmacies, sponsored tooth brushing at nursery schools, the launch of the Maryhill and Woodside Oral Health Action Team and dental surgery open mornings.
And to add an extra helping of fun to the proceedings, teddy bears picnics were held at St Francis Centre in The Gorbals, Castlemilk Community Centre and Govanhill Neighbourhood Centre, so teddies and parents alike could learn about healthy snacks and tooth care.
Susan Toal, Oral Health Promoter with South East Glasgow LHCC (Local Health Care Co-operative), said: "The Oral Health Action Team did really well organising the picnic events which were aimed at the carers of three and four-year-olds. The wee ones had a ball!
"Each invite was for one child, one teddy and one carer. It gave us the perfect opportunity to register children with the Get Brushing Club, which provides free toothbrushes to youngsters from the age of eight months. Many will subsequently receive a free brush every three months right up to the age of five, in the hope of making Glasgow's dental trouble a thing of the past."