Big smiles all round in tooth decay fight

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The dental health of Blackpool youngsters has hugely improved, according to a new health report.

New figures from Public Health England shows 75.1 per cent of Blackpool five-year-olds are free from any dental decay, significantly higher than the 57.5 per cent recorded three years ago.

Resort children are now at a similar level to the national average of 76.7 per cent.

Dr Zuber Bagasi (inset), of the Synergy Dental Clinic, in Central Drive, Blackpool, said the rapid improvement was down to a combination of better dental access, health schemes, and the introduction of fluoridated milk in schools.

More than 8,000 children were offered the milk after Blackpool Council introduced it to the town’s existing free breakfast scheme in 2016.

Dr Bagasi said: “The benefits of fluoride have been established by the European Union and World Health Organisation, who concluded that it contributed to maintaining tooth mineralisation, therefore reducing the level of decay in the mouth.”

Other initiatives put in place by Blackpool Council and Blackpool Better Start to encourage good dental hygiene include supervised tooth-brushing in nurseries and a messaging campaign about how to brush teeth. This month, Blackpool Council will be starting a new public health campaign encouraging children under four to ‘Give up Loving Pop’.

In October 2017, the NHS Starting Well programme was launched in the resort to provide dental care for children under five-years-old.

Dr Bagasi said: “This scheme identified dental practices who wanted to work with the local population and increase dental access for children and their families.

“Local health visitors are involved to signpost patients as well as outreach visits from the dental teams to visit the local schools for education.

“This scheme has recently been launched and we expect that the oral health in 
children will improve even more over the next 12 to24 months.”