East End kids with tooth decay to get NHS fluoride treatment in school

Children are to have their teeth varnished with fluoride at school to tackle high levels of tooth decay.

Nearly one-in-three youngsters aged five in east London have had tooth decay, the NHS has found.

Now a programme to cut rates of child tooth decay is being launched in nursery and primary schools when the new term begins.

The programme developed NHS North East London and the City, already being tested in a pilot scheme, aims to reduce levels by a third.

It involves dental inspections for youngsters aged three to six and health education sessions for parents to promote better oral health care.

“The programme is already being run in five schools with the worst dental health,” said Lesley Mountford, public health director for the NHS in east London.

“But we feel it’s important that all children are given the chance to benefit from it.

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“I hope that thousands of youngsters benefit, from the initial fluoride treatment and learning to care for their teeth properly for years to come.

“Tooth decay is common in young children—but is preventable.”

Part of the programme involves a treatment which coats children’s teeth with a fluoride varnish twice a year.

Those who already have tooth decay will also be sent to an NHS dentist of the parents’ choice.

Parents are being invited to enrol youngsters in the programme in nursery, reception and Year-1. They will be asked to sign consent forms giving permission for their child to be included.

Any children identified in the check-up sessions with tooth decay will have the fluoride coating at school and advised to get treatment from a dental practice of the parents’ choice.

Parents will also be invited to attend information sessions at their child’s school, to ask questions about the programme.