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Child tooth decay down but more to do - dentists

Health news
2024/05/28 13:38
Child tooth decay down but more to do - dentists

Child tooth decay down but more to do - dentists

Holly-Anne Langlois,BBC News, Guernsey

BBC Abby Arblaster, Oral Health Team Leader

The number of children in Guernsey with obvious tooth decay is declining, the Children's Dental Service (CDS) has said.

Its most recent survey in 2023 found 11% of the children in the year group showed signs of tooth decay - a decrease from the 14% recorded in the previous survey.

The service said 7.5% of the 11% were children with active decay.

Abby Arblaster, the service's oral health team leader, said it was an overall improvement but added: "There is still a lot of decay that is untreated and families aren't regularly going to the dentist."

Children at Vauvert Primary School dressed as dentist

The service visited Vauvert Primary School where they played games to get children used to visiting the dentist

She said the improvement might have come from a number of things such as "focusing on prevention and early intervention" as well as "free check-ups and community education".

Every five years the service carries out an in-depth survey on the teeth of reception year children.

The CDS saw children for both routine care and those who were referred by a private dentist.

It carries out screening checks on children in reception and Year 6 across the island's schools each year.

However, it said in 2023 it only saw 60% of children due to not having returned consent forms from parents.

Improving mouth health

Ms Arblaster said barriers which stopped children coming to the dentist included parents having negative experiences.

She said children should be taken to the dentist before their first birthday to get them used to the environment.

"We would like to see everybody within those year groups," she said.

The service also teaches children in early years, Year 3 and Year 7 classes how to look after their teeth.

Tanya Ballay, oral health team educator, said it was important for children to learn about the implications of food and drink on their teeth and their general mouth health.

She said pupils "seem to love" the sessions they delivered.

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