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Improving the health and well-being
of people living in East Yorkshire
and Northern Lincolnshire

 

Teeth Team was established in Hull in 2010 as a school-based programme targeting children aged 0 – 11, providing a supervised tooth brushing, fluoride varnish and oral health education programme in areas of high deprivation in Hull. The programme aims to help children establish a good oral health regime with access to a programme of dental assessment and signposting to primary and secondary care. They work with 22 schools and 3 nurseries in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire and the vision is for every child to have healthy teeth and equal access to oral health, education and treatment. Good oral hygiene should be an essential part of care in early childhood and yet tooth decay is the most common chronic illness in children and can have a significant impact on a child's health and wellbeing and a profound impact on their quality of life. Like other bacterial infections, if left untreated, tooth decay will usually spread leading to pain and discomfort, difficulty sleeping, difficulties chewing affecting growth and development, poor self-esteem and social isolation, speech development problems, higher risk of new decay in other baby teeth and damage to the developing permanent teeth. Tooth decay is largely preventable and yet it remains a serious problem especially in families living in areas of social and economic deprivation. Public Health England report in the National Dental Epidemiology survey of 5 year old children that a quarter of 5 year olds had experienced tooth decay with an average 3 or 4 teeth affected and that the vast majority of tooth decay was left untreated. The most common reason for all hospital admissions of children aged five to nine is tooth decay and dental treatment and toothache is one of the main reasons for school absence in primary school. In 2017-8 59,314 had tooth extractions across the Uk because of tooth decay and over 7000 had one or more teeth extracted in hospital because of tooth decay. Twice as many under 10-year-olds received hospital treatment for tooth decay than for broken arms. We take dental education directly to nurseries and primary schools to help children aged 0-11 years old to develop good dental habits. This includes –Supervised tooth brushing: They provide personalised tooth brushes and holders so that each day, children brush their teeth alongside their classmates under supervision, embedding dental care into their daily routines. For many children, this may be the only time they will brush their teeth in a 24-hour period. Dental assessments: Local volunteer dentists visit schools twice a year to assess each child’s oral health. As a result, children are referred to primary and secondary care as necessary for further preventative and restorative treatment. The application of fluoride varnish: Dental nurses visit schools on a bi-annual basis to apply fluoride varnish to children’s teeth, which increases their protection against tooth decay. Education: To achieve long-term impact, practical guidance and clinical interventions are underpinned by oral health education, teaching children the benefits of healthy teeth and gums and normalising conversations around oral health to reduce or prevent fears around dental visits developing. We work in partnership with dental deaneries, recruit Foundation Dentists and secure the support of volunteer dental practices who give time, services and commitment to improve oral hygiene for children in order to help them achieve better long-term health and wellbeing. Every day, they ensure the 13,000 children across the UK of which, 10,000 live in Hull are brushing their teeth every day. Without them, many of these children would rarely brush their teeth. T