Following the news that the majority of hospital admissions for children were for teeth extractions “Figures for the 2015-16 financial year show there were more than 3,000 hospital admissions for under 18s needing tooth extractions” (Yasmine Djadoudi, BBC Live reporter) the Gateway Dental Practice, located in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, decided to begin an initiative to visit schools and make children aware of the importance of good oral hygiene and the effect of sugar on teeth. The principal dentist and the team from the Gateway Dental Practice started visiting local schools and delivering presentations to children. The initiative was assisted by the West Sussex County Council’s Public Health who have provided supportive health promotion materials. The team have already visited multiple schools, relaying the message to several hundred children, as well as their teachers and parents through the leaflets and other educational materials provided.
Their objective for the initiative is to reduce the need for referrals to hospital for extractions by encouraging a healthy diet, regular attendance at the dentist and via a comprehensive and thorough explanation and demonstration of how children can maintain healthy teeth at home.
The Gateway Dental team feel there is a moral obligation to deliver education on preventative measures, thus eliminating the need for complex dental treatment. Given that, unfortunately, not all children visit a dentist, Gateway Dental are delivering the education to them first hand.
Amanda Jupp, West Sussex Council Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “It is wonderful to see one of our local dental practices actively going out to schools to help them to understand the importance of looking after their teeth. This will add to the work we have already done to reduce the amount of sugar in primary school meals by 65% over the past three years.”
“Parents and carers who want to find out more about sugar swaps and healthy eating ideas can visit the NHS Change4 Life website or download the free Be Food Smart app from the Apple Store or Google Play. A massive well done to Gateway Dental and all the children who have taken part in their visits to schools. Inspiring.”
Furthermore, the Gateway Dental team offered to take part in an interview with a local radio station in the hope of raising awareness amongst those in the West Sussex area about Oral Cancer and what can be done to prevent it. The interview is set to be included in a larger broadcast the station will be carrying out on the topic of health and wellbeing.