The tide of child oral decay across Greater Glasgow and Clyde is now turning thanks to significant investment and the introduction of a range of innovative initiatives.
Figures show that almost 60 per cent of Greater Glasgow and Clyde children aged 11 years have no obvious signs of dental decay. This represents a 19% improvement since 2005 and means that more than 2,500 children aged 11 have no tooth decay compared with five years ago.
In addition, the number of hospital admissions for child dental extractions has been slashed by 1000 in five years.
Ray McAndrew, Clinical Director of Community Dentistry Services for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), said: “We have spent around £7 million over the past five years in the introduction of a number of new initiatives which have achieved these significant results. They represent the biggest improvement in child oral health for many years.
“Dental decay is 100 per cent preventable and we are delighted with the achievements we have made, particularly when you consider that not so long ago oral health in Greater Glasgow and Clyde was considered to be amongst the worst in Europe if not the western world.”
Thanks to the new initiatives 97 per cent of nurseries throughout NHSGGC’s area are offering daily tooth brushing to 34,184 children.
And 17,600 children in primary one and two classes in the area participate in daily tooth brushing.
In addition NHSGGC has also embarked on a major programme to apply a fluoride varnish to the teeth of all primary one and two children in the most deprived areas across Greater Glasgow and Clyde. More than 1300 have already had this treatment and on completion more than 5,000 children will have participated in the first round of the programme.
NHSGGC also distributes some 135,600 Oral Health Promotion packs every year through Health Visitors, Nurseries, Schools and opportunistic healthy initiative events.
Ray McAndrew continued: ”Another major success has been that we have managed to achieve excellent results in terms of children being registered with a dentist. Across our health Board area 93 per cent of children are registered with an NHS dentist.
“Further to this, we also offer dentists the opportunity to become partners in our Childsmile programme, whereby they are incentivised to apply fluoride varnish and meet other key health board targets. There are now more than 108 Greater Glasgow and Clyde dental practices who are registered as a ‘chidlsmile practice’ out of a possible 240 and we are already in talks with a further 70 who wish to come on board.
“However, notwithstanding the major strides forward in oral health for children that have been made we are by no means complacent. We are about to embark on another initiative which will see us roll out an oral health education programme to pregnant women through their ante-natal classes. The key message we want to get across is that if you start with good dental habits they will stay with you for life – as will your teeth.”
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