PROFESSIONALS in Greater Manchester have vowed to reinforce plans to improve children’s dental health, after a Public Health England survey revealed shocking statistics.
It was found that over half of the five-year-olds in Salford have obvious tooth decay at 51 per cent, up from 43.4 per cent in 2007/2008.
Overall, Salford was recorded as having one of the worst rates in the country, with similar findings in neighbouring towns such as Oldham (50.9 per cent) and Rochdale (43.5 per cent).
However, it was shown that Manchester has had an eight per cent improvement in children’s dental health in the past three years – dropping from 40.7 per cent in 2011/2012 to just 32.7 per cent last year.
Laura Browse, head of primary care for Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Dental health has always been a challenge in Greater Manchester (in particular Salford, Rochdale, Oldham and Bolton).
“In response to this, we are taking a co-ordinated approach across the area to make significant improvements for our under five-year-olds.
“Plans are in place to deliver programmes across the region, which have been shown to improve dental health.
“We are committed to achieving better dental health across Greater Manchester.”
These plans include: advising parents and carers to supervise children when brushing their teeth at night, and at least one other time in the day, using family strength fluoride toothpaste and reinforcing that brushing babies’ teeth is just as important.
They are also encouraging parents or guardians to take children for regular routine check-ups at the dentist, and suggesting ways that parents can reduce the amount of sugar that their children consume from food and drink.
Additionally, a ban restricting online advertising of food or drink high in sugar to under 16-year-olds has been confirmed by the Committee of Advertising Practice. This may also have a positive impact on the dental health of children.
Ella Cahoon, a spokesperson for the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), said: “There are many factors that have an impact on childhood obesity and dental health. Available evidence shows that the effect of advertising on children’s food preferences is relatively small, particularly when compared to other factors like parental influences.
“However, CAP believes that even a very small positive impact from these new advertising restrictions could play a meaningful role in reducing potential harms to children.”
It is hoped that the dental health in Greater Manchester will begin to improve now that these plans are in place and have been reinforced by authorities.