Since the Baby Teeth DO Matter initiative was launched in April 2017, dentists in Merthyr Tydfil have seen a 39% increase in children’s attendance, in other words approximately 1500 children!
Alan Lawrie, director of primary, community and mental health at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, said: “We are delighted by the success of this initiative improving access to dental care for children and also for their parents in many cases.
“We will be looking to continue to work with local dentists in Merthyr and beyond to widen access and continue to make sure that Baby Teeth do Matter.”
The health board made it a priority to improve the oral health of children and piloted the initiative in Merthyr Tydfil to raise awareness of the importance of children adopting healthy dental habits early to prevent tooth decay.
Dental surveys are carried out to assess the oral health of children when they are three, five and twelve years of age. However, data in 2017 had shown that 56.5% of five year old children in Merthyr Tydfil had dental decay.
Another concerning statistic was that 60% of children in that area under five years of age hadn’t visited a dentist and almost 80% of children under two years of age hadn’t yet visited a dentist.
Three dental practices took part in the initiative, namely, Cefn Coed Dental Practice, Dentiyddfa Hapus Dental Practice and Cyfarthfa Dental Practice.
Parents of children under five were encouraged by health visitors to take their children to the dentist when they attended baby clinics in GP Practices.
Many people think that baby teeth do not matter because the teeth are going to fall out anyway and be replaced with a second set but they do matter. Baby teeth are very important to a child’s health and development. When baby teeth are lost too early then the guide for the permanent teeth is lost and the space available for the second teeth can be reduced. This can make permanent teeth crooked or crowded. Having poor oral health can affect children’s ability to eat, sleep, speak, can lead to pain and infection and being admitted to hospital for general anaesthetic.
Last year, in Wales almost 8,000 children had to be admitted to hospital to have teeth extracted under general anaesthetic!
As tooth decay remains the most common reason for young children to go into hospital, looking after your children’s teeth is so important.
Tooth decay can be prevented and the key messages of the Baby Teeth DO Matter initiative are:
- Children should start brushing their teeth as soon as they get their first tooth
- Brush teeth last thing at night before going to bed and one other time during the day
- Use fluoride toothpaste
- The whole family should have regular dental check ups
- Reduce the amount of sugary foods and drinks.
For a list of all the dental practices in Cwm Taf currently accepting new NHS patients please follow the link –https://www.wales.nhs.uk/ourservices/directory/cwmtafmorgannwguniversityhealthboard/dentists
To find out more about the campaign – https://cwmtafmorgannwg.wales/baby-teeth-do-matter-childrens-dental-health-campaign/
Don’t delay, make an appointment today.