Smile! It’s National Smile Month

Somerset County Council is supporting this year’s National Smile Month (May 15 – June 15) which is raising awareness of the value of a healthy 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 four five year-olds and is the number one reason why children are admitted to hospital in the UK.

Childhood is a key time to develop lifelong skills and behaviours relating to oral health and hygiene. Despite this 12 per cent of three year olds in England already have evidence of childhood decay.

In Somerset a quarter of five year olds and over a third of 12 year olds have dental decay.

Alison Bell, Consultant in Public Health, Somerset County Council said: “A lovely ‘smile’ is top of the list of things we first notice when meeting a new person. Our teeth and smiles are rated the second most important attractive feature by both men and women, only behind personality.

“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
• Register with a dentist and visit them regularly, as often as they recommend
• Parents can download the free Brush DJ app now from the Apple App store.

Developed by dentist Ben Underwood the Brush DJ app helps to make brushing less boring as it plays two mins of a song taken from the music library and sends your child lots of set reminders, such as when to renew their tooth brush.

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

“Together Somerset County Council and the service are developing a new online oral health promotion training for professionals across multi-agencies working with adults and children. This will be launched this summer and I would encourage anyone supporting adults and children to complete the training and receive a certificate.”

“The service also provides community based fluoride varnish applications in selected early year’s settings and children’s centres for three year olds. The recommendation is for fluoride varnish to be applied to teeth twice yearly. The service coordinates the universal distribution of toothbrush and toothpaste packs to children aged 12 months.”

You can watch Sparky, the Somerset County Council dragon, offering children top tips for looking after their teeth and mouth on  Youtube:
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