Smiles all round as scheme aiming to cut tooth decay in primary school age children is launched


A new dental health project aiming to cut tooth decay in children of primary school age has been launched in Ipswich.

Suffolk councillors and Mayor of Ipswich with Cliff Lane Primary SchoolMembers of Suffolk County Council’s Public Health team were joined by the council’s Director of Public Health and Protection, Abdul Razaq, and Cabinet Member for Health, Tony Goldson, Mayor of Ipswich Sarah Barber and staff and pupils from Cliff Lane Primary School to launch the project.

Cliff Lane, along with Highfield Nursery Primary School are the two schools taking part in the pilot scheme, which will support pupils and parents in south east Ipswich with key tips and advice on keeping teeth healthy.

The pilot is part of the successful ‘Keep Suffolk Smiling’ scheme, with teachers at the two schools supported by the Community Dental Health Team to deliver important messages about dental health, alongside information to take home for parents.

Although oral health is improving in England, almost a quarter of five-year-olds have tooth decay, and oral health accounts for around £3.4 billion per year to the NHS. Tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admissions in children aged 5-9 in 2014/15 with over 24,000 children admissions for an almost entirely preventable disease.

In Suffolk, 79.1% of five-year-olds are free from dental decay, compared to the national average of 75.2%.

Councillor Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Health and Chair of the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“It’s good that in Suffolk we have better standards of dental health than across England as a whole, we know more work is needed to better oral health standards for all children in Suffolk.

“This pilot scheme is another way that Suffolk County Council is working hard to give every child in Suffolk the best start in life.”

Mayor of Ipswich, Sarah Barber, said:

“Good dental health from a young age is incredibly important, which is why I wholeheartedly support this project to support teachers and parents to raise awareness of the issue among children.

“By working with Cliff Lane Primary School, among others, we’re hoping to make a real difference to children’s oral health and I am really pleased to be part of this project from the outset.”