More than 1,300 Nottingham children given lessons in brushing their teeth

A child at the dentist (Pixabay)

More than 1,300 children in Nottingham have now benefited from a scheme tackling poor dental health in the city with brushing advice.

‘Brushing Buddies’ was introduced in November 2015 after figures showed just over one in three of five-year-olds in the city had already experienced tooth decay – the national average is one in four.

And in 2014 fewer than one in five of three-year-olds in Nottingham visited an NHS dentist.

In response NHS experts and Nottingham City Council devised ‘Brushing Buddies’ – staff trained by Nottinghamshire Healthcare’s Oral Health Promotion Team to help children learn how to brush their teeth more effectively.

The buddies also encourage children to pass on messages about dental health to their friends and families.

So far it has been trialled at 25 nurseries and pre-schools since last November, with 1,335 children taking part.

The city council says it will soon be extended to include reception-age children in these schools.

A third of children under five in Nottingham have tooth decay because of poor dental health.

Councillor Alex Norris, Portfolio Holder for Health at Nottingham City Council, said: “It’s great that more than 1,300 children in the city have benefited and we hope to increase that figure to 3,000 now that it is being extended to reception classes.

“It’s easy for young children to forget to brush their teeth, or to do it in a hurry and not clean them properly.

“Unless significant changes are made, these children will carry a burden of dental disease for life.”

The ‘Buddies’ attended two summer roadshows in Bulwell and St Ann’s earlier this year and spoke to more than 100 people about the project and the benefits of regular teeth brushing.

Alison Challenger, Director of Public Health at Nottingham City Council, said: “We were aware of a particular issue with poor dental health among children in certain areas of the city and Brushing Buddies was an attempt to tackle that in a fun and engaging way.

“We look forward to extending the project further in the coming months.”

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