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Significant improvement in child tooth decay, according to new report

Credit: PA

Tooth decay in 11-12-year-olds in Wales has significantly declined, according to a new report.

The Welsh Oral Health Information Unit report shows that the percentage of children experiencing obvious tooth decay has dropped by 15% - from 45% in 2004/2005 to 30% in 2016/2017.

The Welsh Government launched the Designed to Smile campaign in 2008/09 to improve children's oral health and has been piloting a preventative approach to care in dental practices across Wales.

Research shows that dental decay often starts early.

The Chief Dental Officer for Wales says investment in prevention services is key as it is largely preventable.

Dental decay is unpleasant, can be painful to experience, it is costly to treat and yet is largely preventable. The evidence is now clear that sustained investment in prevention services and targeted population programmes can reduce dental decay.

It is important that every young child in Wales is supervised to brush their teeth with family fluoride toothpaste at bedtime, and on one other occasion every day. Having nothing sweet to eat or dink in the last hour before bedtime will also help to protect teeth.

– Colette Bridgman, Chief Dental Officer for Wales

The Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething AM, says although he is pleased with the progress, there is no room for complacency.

I am very pleased to see the progress being made in reducing tooth decay in children. It is obvious the Welsh Government's investment in Designed to Smile and access to preventative dental services in having a real impact across Wales.

However there is no room for complacency. We have revamped out prevention programme to include more help for very young children and their parents and we are also stepping up prevention for older kids.

– Vaughan Gething AM, Health Secretary

The report was published by Cardiff University in partnership with Public Health Wales.