Parents of babies targeted in scheme to halt child tooth decay in Brent

Left to right: Adriano Leong, Avelina Leong, Amit Kerai and Lawrence Smith at a drop-in session at W

Left to right: Adriano Leong, Avelina Leong, Amit Kerai and Lawrence Smith at a drop-in session at Wembley Primary Childrens Centre (Pic credit: Brent Council) - Credit: Archant

Parents of babies as young as six-months-old are being targeting in a pilot dentistry scheme to curb worrying levels of tooth decay in children in Brent.

The ‘Now You Have Teeth’ project, which is part of a wider oral health programme across the borough, will see newly qualified dentists provided free a dvice to parents on correct ways to brush their children’s teeth and the importance of their diets .

Last year a survey published by Public Health England showed 20 per cent of three-year-olds who were examined in their nursery, children’s centre or playgroup in Brent had visible signs of decay caused by too many sugary foods and drinks – six per cent above the London average.

In some cases youngsters were found to have a particular type of tooth decay called ‘Early Childhood Caries’ which can be caused by them being given sugary drinks in baby bottles or sipping cups.

The aim of the project is to get children from teething age into a habit of visiting a dentist regularly, so that the oral health of children in Brent improves in the years to come.

Lawrence Smith, 25, who has been qualified as a dentist for 18 months, said: “Things such as tooth decay can develop much more quickly in children than in adults, so if you were checked over every three months, the dentist can spot things earlier and give you advice so that your child won’t need treatment.“There are too many children who are having to go under general anaesthetic to have their teeth taken out, which costs around £1,000 each time, so avoiding such treatment is not only better for the child’s health it is better for the public purse as well.”

Brent resident Adriano Leong, 36, brought his 14- month old daughter Avelina to have her teeth checked at Wembley Children’s Centre.

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He said: “I think the scheme is a good idea as it reminds you not only to brush properly but that it is important to have a good diet as well and to avoid sugary drinks and foods.”

The project is led by Health Education North West London, NHS England, and Public Health England in partnership with Brent Council.

Related link: One in five nursery children in Brent suffer from tooth decay