Cwm Taf University Health Board is making it a priority to improve the oral health of our children and one of the initiatives we have launched is ‘Baby Teeth DO Matter’.
The campaign aims to raise awareness throughout Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taff 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.
However, data has shown that 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.
Another concerning statistic is that 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.
Tooth decay remains the most common reason for young children to go into hospital. 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)
Many people think that baby teeth don’t matter because the teeth are going to fall out anyway and be replaced with a 2nd set but they do matter. Baby teeth are very important to a child’s health and development. When baby teeth are lost too early then the guide for the permanent teeth is lost and the space available for the 2nd teeth can be reduced. This can make permanent teeth crooked or crowded. Having poor oral health can affect children’s ability to eat, sleep, speak, can lead to pain and infection and being admitted to hospital for general anaesthetic.
Tooth decay can be prevented and the key messages are
- 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
For a list of all the dental practices in Cwm Taf currently accepting new NHS patients please follow the link –https://www.wales.nhs.uk/ourservices/directory/cwmtafuniversityhealthboard/dentists
To find out more about the campaign – https://cwmtafuhb.wpengine.com/baby-teeth-do-matter-childrens-dental-health-campaign/