Help protect a child’s smile

Somerset County Council is encouraging anyone who supports children or young people in any way to complete a free, e-learning module to learn how to protect children’s smiles.

The module launches today in celebration of Smile Month (14th May to 14th June 2018).  It is quick and easy to do and there is a certificate on completion.

The children’s and young people oral health module is the second module from Somerset County Council’s Learning Centre released this year – the first aims to protect adult oral health.

The two modules will inform anyone in a supporting or caring role either professionally or as a member of the public in the home, community or as a volunteer on how to look after their teeth and promote good oral health.

Although decay in five year olds has reduced over time, 23% of children of this age experience tooth decay in Somerset, slightly below the national average (25%).

The prevalence of tooth decay in twelve year olds in Somerset is slightly higher than that seen nationally (37% v 33%). The figures are relatively high in West Somerset (46%), Taunton Deane (41%) and Sedgemoor (39%). More severe decay is also evident in West Somerset and Sedgemoor.

Poor oral health can lead to pain and discomfort and it can affect a person’s ability to eat, speak, smile, socialise or maintain good health and wellbeing.

Councillor Christine Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing at Somerset County Council said:  “Your smile is one of the greatest assets you have in life so it is really important we do everything we can to protect the smiles and health of children and young people.

“Our new accessible e-learning module aims to promote good oral health to the whole population while targeting areas where it is needed most.  I would encourage people to complete the free training module and receive a certificate.”

How to improve your oral health?

  • Visit a dentist regularly, don’t wait until you have a problem
  • Register your child to a dentist by age 1.
  • Start cleaning infant’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears
  • Avoid using a bottle after one year of age, don’t put sugary drinks in a bottle
  • Brush your teeth just before you go to bed and before you have anything to eat or drink at breakfast
  • Spit, don’t rinse when you clean your teeth, this washes way the fluoride from the toothpaste.
  • Eat a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, remember your five a day
  • Clean all the surface of your teeth – this should take at least two minutes.  Flossing or using interdental brushes will help prevent gum disease

You can register for the free training in oral health improvement on the Somerset Learning Pool, just email

Families without a dentist can register now for an NHS Somerset dentist, just call the Somerset Dental Helpline on 0300 123 7691.


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Notes to Editors:-

For details of statistics they can be found in the 2015 Oral Health Survey of 5 year-olds, please see the Public Health England Dental Health website.

A strategy for Improving Oral Health in Somerset 2015-2018 concentrates on several key themes:-

  • Improving diet and reduce the consumption of sugary foods, drink, alcohol and tobacco
  • Increasing the availability of fluoride
  • Improving oral hygiene
  • Addressing inequalities in oral health
  • Increasing access to dental services