A new campaign to encourage little changes to make a big difference to later lives is being launched by Leeds City Council. The oral health campaign will encourage families to look after the oral health of children with the aim of reducing a wide range of health problems which could face them in later life.
Tooth decay is the most common oral disease affecting children and young people in England, but it is largely preventable. Leeds is targeting areas with highest amount of tooth decay in children to get smiles brighter. There are stark regional differences in oral health, with one in five of five-year olds with tooth decay in South East England contrasting with one in three in Yorkshire and the Humber, but there are even greater inequalities within local authority areas, including Leeds.
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:
“We know there are huge differences in oral health across the UK, but this is matched with big differences across Leeds. I’m determined that people in Leeds get a chance to live healthy lives, and providing good advice and information is a key way in which we can do this.
“We are committed to targeting our resources where they will make the most difference and help the people with the worst health make improvements. I hope everyone will keep an eye open for this campaign and take notice of the messages – it isn’t just the campaign we want to have real teeth – it’s young people as they grow older!”
Although children’s oral health has improved over the past 20 years, almost a third of five year old still had tooth decay in 2012, and it was the most common reason for hospital admissions in children aged five to nine years in 2012 to 2013.
Steph Jorysz, Leeds City Council, Advanced Health Improvement Specialist, said:
“It’s important to look after child’s teeth so they not only have healthy teeth now, but also when they are older. You should also start taking your child to visit the dentist when they get their first tooth.
“Having regular visits to the dentist and making sure everyone in the family brushes for two minutes, twice a day will make a real difference – something to put a smile on everyone’s face!”
Poor oral health can affect children and young people’s ability to sleep, eat, speak, play and socialise with other children. Poor oral health can also cause pain, infections, and impaired nutrition and growth.
Notes for editors
The campaign will launch on 21st April, with an event at Richmond Hill Children’s Centre.
The www.leedssmiles.co.uk website will have more tips as well as fun games and activities to make brushing fun as the campaign is primarily aimed at pre-school children.
Some oral health facts:
• Good oral health is more than having ‘good teeth’. Oral health is integral to general health and is essential for well-being and a good quality of life. Dental caries (tooth decay), erosion of the dental hard tissue and gum disease are the most common forms of dental disease in children. Caries has the highest prevalence of the three diseases.
• Children and young people who experience caries may experience pain, loss of appetite, be unable to attend school, and suffer low self-esteem. It may start a lifetime of fearing dental treatment and non-attendance for treatment.
• Children with caries are more likely to have tooth decay as adults. Dental caries is an entirely preventable disease for most people.
• Five year olds’ dental health in Leeds
Over one third of five year olds in Leeds have at least 3 decayed teeth. This is higher than the average rate of tooth decay for five year olds in England.
• Extractions in this age group usually require a hospital admission and a general anaesthetic.
Communications and Marketing team
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