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Call to save toothbrushing scheme

By Rachel Lawler
Toothbrushing in early years
The Dental Wellness Trust has asked the government to pledge further funding for supervised tooth brushing schemes in early years settings and schools. The charity says that the schemes could save the NHS almost £30 million.
A survey by the Dental Wellness Trust also discovered that 16.2% of parents only take their child to the dentist once a year, compared to the recommended twice a year. 7.4% say they have never taken their child to a dentist at all, despite the recommended dental check for all children aged one.
Parents cited difficulty getting appointments and fear around the dentist as reasons why they didn’t visit more often. However, more than 82% said that they believed tooth brushing should be included in children’s health education.
Currently, around 36,500 children at admitted to hospitals for tooth extractions under general anaesthetic each year, at a cost of around £836 per child.
Dr Linda Greenwall, founder of the Dental Wellness Trust, said: “Although tooth decay does not discriminate, there are huge inequalities in oral health with tooth decay being strongly associated with deprivation and social exclusion. Whilst it’s evident that our self-funded oral health prevention and tooth brushing programmes do work – we urgently need further government funding to continue providing this vital service to all children. The cost saving to the government is staggering and we urge decisions makers to fund these schemes and tackle this wholly preventable disease.”
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