Tooth decay campaign sees progress in Wales

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY: The Welsh government is working to reduce high rates of tooth decay among the country's children.

Posted: February 16, 2015

Tooth decay is a prevalent problem among children in Wales, but the government is looking to greatly reduce the numbers with its Designed to Smile program. According to the BBC, approximately 47.6 percent of Welsh 5-year-olds suffered from tooth decay in 2008, but as of 2012, this number declined to 41.4 percent thanks to the oral health campaign. Designed to Smile encourages children at home to have supervised brushings, thereby instilling good oral hygiene habits from a young age.

Designed to Smile statistics 
According to the Welsh government, about 60 percent of children age 3 to 6 are participating in the program. Designed to Smile is a school-based initiative offering home packs with dental hygiene products to students. The government noted that as of March 2014, parental consent regarding the program is very high, right around 95 percent. Parental consent must be obtained before students can participate in the program. Designed to Smile shared more than 230,000 home packs throughout Wales with an average of 2.4 packs being distributed to each child. 

Since 2009, the campaign has slowly been growing across the nation. In its first year, Designed to Smile reached 515 schools, whereas during 2013-14 school year, the program was included in 1,452 schools. The vast majority of schools take part specifically in the supervised brushing program, however, more than 150 schools also participated in fissure sealant and fluoride varnish aspects of Designed to Smile. 

Oral health problems often result in children missing school, so implementing Designed to Smile not only has an overall positive effect on the general health of the nation, but also on student absenteeism. This progress showcases that strong policymaking and advocacy for good oral health care has the ability to help reduce tooth decay overall. 

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