Smile please! It’s National Smile Month.

Somerset County Council is supporting this year’s National Smile Month (16th May to 16th June 2016) raising awareness of the value of a lovely smile and the importance of good oral health to maintain it.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children, affecting more than one in our five year olds in the UK.  In Somerset a quarter of five year olds and over a third of 12 year olds have dental decay.  Poor oral health is almost entirely preventable.

Cllr. Anna Groskop, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at Somerset County Council, said:  “A lovely smile will really help you all through your life, it is so important to our self-confidence and our relationships .

“Early childhood is the key time to develop lifelong good habits relating to your oral health. From brushing their first tooth to their first trip to the dentist we want all children to learn and maintain good oral health practice and have good habits and a healthy diet that will carry them through adulthood.”

Top tips to improve oral health

  • Brush your teeth at night and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks
  • Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

In Somerset a new service called Somerset Smiles launched recently to improve adults and children’s oral health. The new Primary Care Dental Service is commissioned by Somerset County Council and run by Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. It provides community based fluoride varnish applications in selected early years settings and children’s centres for three year olds, oral health care training sessions for carers, wider workforce training for professionals and the distribution of toothbrush and toothpaste packs to children aged 12 months and a reminder for parents to register their child with a dentist.

Alison Bell, Consultant in Public Health at Somerset County Council, said: “Our priority is to establish good health for everyone in Somerset.  Our new oral health promotion service aims to promote good oral health to the whole population, while targeting communities who need more help”