Friday, 23 October 2009

Expansion of ‘Designed to Smile’ across Wales

‘Designed to Smile’, the Oral Health Improvement Programme aimed at young children in Wales, is to be extended following two successful super pilot schemes in north and south Wales.

Under the scheme, delivered by the Community Dental Service, dental health support workers:

  • deliver a supervised tooth-brushing programme in schools and
  • provide toothbrushes and toothpaste to school children along with oral health advice.

Part of this service is delivered via mobile dental health units that provide specialist preventive care and treatment to schools.

This announcement will see funding for the scheme double to £3.1 million for 2009/10 rising to over £3.8 million from 2010/11.

As well as rolling out the scheme beyond the existing pilot areas to targeted, Communities First schools in the rest of Wales, the additional funding will allow the scheme to be extended within the pilot areas to from three to five-year-olds to include six and seven year old and a nursery-based programme for the youngest children under the age of three.

Compared to the rest of the UK, the dental health of children in Wales is poor. There is a direct correlation between poor oral health and deprivation.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said:

“The rates of tooth decay in parts of Wales are too high and something that need to be tackled. This additional funding for the Designed to Smile scheme will carry on and enhance the good work done in the pilot areas and extend it across the whole of Wales.

"There is a significant role for parents to play, but we know that for many children at greatest risk of dental decay, cleaning their teeth or having their teeth cleaned does not form part of their daily routine.

“It is clear that more direct and also more innovative methods of delivering preventive care are necessary if advances in child oral health are to be made. By teaching children the importance of good oral health at an early age, they will develop good habits they will carry on into adulthood.”


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