Mobile scheme to tackle tooth decay among disadvantaged children

The Hampstead-based Dental Wellness Trust is taking oral healthcare into schools

The Hampstead-based Dental Wellness Trust is taking oral healthcare into schools including Mora Primary - Credit: Dental Wellness Trust 

A Hampstead-based charity is piloting a new scheme to improve dental health among disadvantaged children.

The Dental Wellness Trust launched an oral health screening and varnish programme at Mora Primary School in Cricklewood on Friday (February 4).

With lockdown restrictions impacting families, Public Health England data suggests 50% of London children (one million) have not been seen by a dentist in at least 12 months.

The charity screened around 250 children at Mora Primary and will be visiting about 50 children at Islamia Primary School in Queen’s Park this Friday with its mobile dental clinic.

It hopes to roll the pilot scheme out across London.

The Dental Wellness Trust offers, with parent consent, fluoride varnish treatment to help prevent further tooth decay, slow it down, or stop it from getting worse. 

Founder Dr Linda Greenwall said: “The current situation is truly shocking. Even before the pandemic, tooth decay amongst children was extremely worrying but the events of the past two years have exacerbated things massively. So much so, that amongst some of the children that needed fillings, they now needed extractions.

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"The list of emergency appointments is growing by the day as we are scrambling to catch up. Evidence show that delays in preventative care could result in children developing more tooth decay, especially when it starts in childhood, and this is the strongest indicator of risk into adulthood."

Dr Linda Greenwall, headteacher Polly Baylis, and Dr Saul Konviser

Dental Wellness Trust founder Dr Linda Greenwall, Mora Primary and Nursery School headteacher Polly Baylis, and Dr Saul Konviser of the Dental Wellness Trust - Credit: Polly Baylis

During the pandemic, the charity has expanded its toothbrushing programmes in schools and nurseries, helping nearly 10,000 children around England.

Mora Primary School deputy headteacher Kate Bass said: "As we know, during the pandemic families were forced into isolation, lock down and social distancing which, in some cases, has had a negative impact on their health.

"In particular, the disruption to the normal routines of children, such as having to home school has resulted in their oral health being overlooked – not to mention a disruption to their daily diets and the temptation of sugary foods. This is why we so urgently need these oral health screenings and help prevent tooth decay.”