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Parents urged to take toddlers for dental check

NHS England launches campaign aiming to boost number of toddlers receiving dental checks

Ingrid Torjesen

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

NHS England has launched a campaign which aims to see an additional 70,000 pre-school children receive dental checks as part of a drive in the health service’s 70th year to help young families improve dental health.

Only one in 10 children under two currently has a NHS dental check-up despite a first dental visit by a baby’s first birthday being recommended by experts. A quarter of England’s five-year-olds have tooth decay and over 140 children per day, some just one year old, are having decayed teeth removed.

NHS England’s campaign aims to reduce the large numbers of children undergoing general anaesthetic and emergency dental treatments for the removal of decayed teeth – currently a considerable cost to the NHS.

The Starting Well Core initiative will include additional support to the dental profession, including training materials and guidance for caring for your children, and a programme of communication to encourage the public to take up the offer of a ‘Dental Check By One’, for babies in the first year.

Chief dental officer for England, Sara Hurley, said: “Taking pre-school children to the dentist can prevent the pain of tooth extractions.

“Regular visits to your dentist from a very early age, is key to developing habits that lead to a lifetime of good oral health. The NHS is providing additional support to dentists to help them see more children, so that painful and distressing dental operations, later in life, can be reduced.”

All children up to the age of 18, or under 19 and in full-time education, qualify for free NHS dental treatment.

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