Tooth decay is the most common reason for young children to go into hospital

Credit: Patrick Pleul/DPA/PA Images

Data has shown that five-year-old children in Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taf have the highest dental decay rates in Wales.

Cwm Taf University Health Board has launched a campaign to improve the oral health of young children.

The 'Baby Teeth Do Matter' campaign aims to raise awareness throughout Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taf of the importance of children adopting healthy dental habits early to prevent tooth decay.

Dental surveys are carried out to assess the oral health of children when they are three, five and 12 years of age. The latest survey shows that the oral health of five year-old children in Wales has significantly improved and dental decay has reduced by 12% since 2008.

The Health Board have provided tips on how to prevent tooth decay:

  • Children should start brushing their teeth as soon as they get their first tooth.

  • Brush teeth last thing at night before going to bed and one other time during the day.

  • Use fluoride toothpaste.

  • The whole family should have regular dental check ups.

  • Reduce the amount of sugary foods and drinks.

  • Five-year-old children in Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taf have the highest dental decay rates in Wales - 58.6% of children living in Merthyr Tydfil and 43% of children living in Rhondda Cynon Taf having dental decay.

  • 60% of children in those areas under five years of age haven't visited a dentist and almost 80% of children under two years of age haven't yet visited a dentist.

  • In Wales almost 8,000 children had to be admitted to hospital to have teeth extracted under general anaesthetic (over 1,200 children in Merthyr, Rhondda Cynon Taf)

See the report by Hannah Thomas below: